How Would You Cover the White House?

In November, I'll make the transition from politics to the White House beat. My editors and I have ideas about how to approach the Obama White House, but our perspective will benefit from the thoughts of the people who will read what I'm going to write.

Before you let me borrow your thoughts, I want you to put yourselves in the worn-out shoes of a beat reporter, someone who goes on campus on a daily basis, who has to deal with colleagues and White House officials face-to-face on a daily basis, who faces the pressure to be competitive on a beat where the biggest scoops are often handed out, and, I can assure you, will not be handed out to me.

Here are some questions:

How does a reporter hold the White House accountable? How should a reporter cover the president's character? His evolving worldview? How about the intersection between the institution and the person? How much attention should a reporter focus on the way the White House communicates with reporters? What issues are undercovered?

Who covers the White House well? How do they cover it well?

I'll try to respond to as many constructive points as I can. Fair warning: this is not an invitation to bash other journalists, or to complain about journalists who take Robert Gibbs's talking points at face value, or space to demand that reporters stop attending anonymous briefings. This IS an invitation to help me cover the White House in a way that is better than I would have had I not solicited your advice.