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Hearst Magazines is trying to trim its costs as the publishing industry retrenches in a shrinking economy.

POLITICS AND MEDIA: With less than two weeks until election day, former presidential candidates Gary Hart and Bob Kerrey sat down with The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta on Wednesday to analyze press coverage of the presidential election and talk about how the Web has changed the entire process. The breakfast event was sponsored by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

Because of the Internet, Kerrey said he hasn’t watched an evening news program in eight years, adding that the only reason he reads magazines in print is because he’s 65, not 25. “This is the first global campaign, because of technology,” he said. “As a consumer, it’s easier for me to get content.” And he doesn’t care who reports the news, as long as it’s easily accessible. When some traditional news outlets shied away from the John Edwards scandal earlier this year, he got all of his updates online. “What do I care if The New York Times doesn’t write it,” he said.

Hart added, “everybody is a journalist — that’s the new media.”

The two former politicos agreed that Sen. Barack Obama has a tremendous advertising advantage, thanks to the money he’s raised for his campaign, but Kerrey believes Obama’s decision to shun public funding and take $150 million in September alone hasn’t been reported enough, adding that, if McCain was in Obama’s shoes, it would be a different story in the press. “Would [Maureen] Dowd talk about it in one of her columns?” Kerrey asked.

— A.W.
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