Business Insider’s Zeke Miller (at left) covers the debt crisis the same way many Beltway reporters do. He gets up before 5 a.m. to read up on the news and commentary. He arrives in the office at around 7 a.m. and spends the day reporting and aggregating. When he gets home in the evening, he repeats the ritual “till there’s no more news.”
Now for the differences: Miller is 21, just out of college. Another is that he covers Washington and national politics full-time from New York.
It’s a seated content model. Miller scans Politico, The Washington Post, the National Journal, and many other publications in search of stuff to highlight. Then there’s his original stuff. “I’m constantly on the phone, IM, e-mailing sources . . . I have some relationships with some people on Capitol Hill, there are some school friends of mine there, and my senior essay was on a senator,” says Miller, who went to Yale. The essay was about Joe Lieberman.
Business Insider and Miller are well-known to my computer. They’re the folks who give cramps to its RSS reader and Twitter feed — Miller has tapped out more than 14,000 tweets. If a good portion of it weren’t topical, cleverly packaged and well written, my computer would have banished it a long time back. But it is.
Miller’s coverage of the debt crisis has gotten traction on the Business Insider site. A live-blog on the fallout from House Speaker John Boehner’s dark Thursday stands at more than 12,000 hits. A similar treatment on the non-vote stands above 41,000. Says John Ellis, Miller’s editor: “Zeke’s work has basically doubled our Politics vertical traffic. It varies day to day, but there’s a lot of interest in this story among BI readers. It’s more interesting to them than, say, Syria.”
According to Ellis, Business Insider has assigned Miller to find out ”what is happening in Washington, how might that impact the markets, how might that impact 2012 politics, what happens next, what impact will that have on the markets.”
That is, almost precisely the same goals as hundreds of other news outlets.
Miller acknowledges that by computer-jockeying it all the time, he loses face-to-face contact with Washington players. Since joining Business Insider in June, he hasn’t even set foot in the District. “There’s been some talk about possibly going down next week,” he says. “We have a decent travel budget.”
But he won’t likely overdo the whole on-site reporting thing. “Everything’s electronic now. You don’t necessarily need to be face to face. . . .You don’t necessarily need to have a meeting or coffee.”