For caucus coverage, we'll be everywhere

If the line on participation in Saturday's Republican and Democratic caucuses is 70,000, I'll take the under. But I'm a doubting Thomas.

By moving up to one of the first-in-the-nation presidential preference states, no matter what the turnout might turn out to be, Nevada takes on a certain significance in this important selection process. The candidates are coming. The national media are coming -- with all the usual cliches about candidates crapping out, playing for high stakes, etc. A nation's eyes turn to the Silver State.

And we believe the eyes of our readers are also on this contest, even though not all will be willing to take hours out of a holiday weekend to wrangle with their neighbors over who is the best person to lead this nation over the next four years.

In the coming week, the Review-Journal staff plans to kick its coverage of the caucuses up a notch and bring our readers a full plate of reporting, commentary, analysis, graphics, photographs and more -- in print, online and by e-mail.

If the old Atlanta Journal could boast in its front page motto that it "Covers Dixie like the Dew," the Review-Journal can brag we're covering the Nevada caucuses like desert patina.

For a snapshot of the views of Nevadans from one end of this huge state to the other, peruse our six-part series by reporter Paul Harasim and photographer Jeff Scheid starting today. They hit the road for six days, cruising U.S. Highway 95 from border to border, asking people along the way about their views on the presidential candidates and the issues that matter to them.

They ignored my suggestion that they rewrite Johnny Cash's song "I've Been Everywhere" to accompany the piece. After all, the song starts out with the hitchhiking Cash saying: "I was toting my pack along the long, dusty Winnemucca road, when along came a semi with a high canvas-covered load."

In response to the driver's query if he'd seen "a road with so much dust and sand," Cash replies that he has traveled every road in this here land and proceeds to sing a litany of locales starting with Reno and ending with Dodge City.

So it would have been easy enough to pen a refrain like: "Of travel I've had my share, man, I've been everywhere, man. I've been to Reno, Elko, Denio, Alamo, Tuscarora, Silver Peak, Sliver Springs, Spring Creek, Sin City, Virginia City, Carson City, what a pity."

On an even lighter note, if that's possible, columnist John L. Smith in this section offers cartoonist Jim Day's presidential endorsement, which is based entirely on the selfish premise of which candidate would make the best caricature.

On Tuesday, our reporters will be covering the Democratic debate here, offering up the blow-by-blow in Wednesday's paper.

We will again explain how a caucus works and what to expect at your precinct.

We'll again have a presidential preference survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, whose numbers for New Hampshire were closer to the primary day outcome than a majority of pollsters.

At our Web site,, we'll continue to aggregate our coverage, creating a study guide for those of you needing to cram before the final exam. The package not only includes our helpful profiles of each candidate that we ran in the Nevada section, but also has links to two interactive quizzes that ask you your stance on important issues of the day and then shows which candidates most closely match your views.

I filled in one of the quizzes with what I considered conservative answers and got a virtual tie among Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Fred Thompson. Then I filled in what I thought a liberal would say and was given Dennis Kucinich.

You can also go online and sign up for the eRJ and receive e-mailed news flashes on your computer or PDA as they happen.

For those of you who text message on your cell phone, sign up for our newest service by sending the text message "breaking" to 702411 to be alerted as news breaks. Go to for more information and instructions on how to sign up for other alerts.

Also look for our various local columnists to weigh in with their observations and for the Review-Journal's editorial position on the candidates and the issues.

Of course, there will be thorough coverage in next Sunday's newspaper providing the outcome of both parties' caucuses.

Thomas Mitchell is editor of the Review-Journal and writes about the role of the press and access to public information. He may be contacted at 383-0261 or via e-mail at