On a recent sunny Thursday in California, a tracker for the Meg Whitman campaign was shooting video outside a nurses union protest of the Republican gubernatorial hopeful, when a beefy security guard for the labor group approached and jostled the tracker, whose camera suddenly shook and fell.
Welcome to tracking, 2010 edition, in which election campaigns and parties are using savvier and quicker technology — and sometimes even multiple operatives — to record their rivals’ every move.
Trackers have become the essential campaign tool, exploding in number in part because of the dwindling press corps. News outlets of all sizes have fewer and fewer bodies to send to cover events, meaning campaigns need to gather their own footage of what the opposition is saying and doing on the campaign trail.
But trackers are also now considered as indispensable as pollsters for campaigns ranging from presidential contests all the way down to city council races. Their value reaches well beyond the research and intel they provide — they also record footage that might one day turn out to be a viral video, the modern campaign equivalent of a silver bullet.
Read more at http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0810/40678.html#ixzz0vist6jhg.