Watching Australia’s media covering an election campaign is a lot like watching the Tour de France. And right now, Australia’s press Tour is half-way through, just hitting the mountainous stages in the Pyrenees.
There’s the press pack: puffing up the rise, grouped together in the peloton, each rider subtly and continually adjusting their movements to the pack as a whole so that the total group seems to move as if as one. It’s an approach that’s said to bring the wisdom of the crowd to campaign reporting: it carves a national narrative from the day-to-day campaigning, ensuring the country gets to experience the election in a more or less uniform way.
As in the Tour, from time to time one of the riders will breakaway from the pack. In French, they’re baroudeurs or adventurers. It’s high stakes -- you can end up winning the stage with the yellow jersey or exhaust yourself and be swept aside by the grinding peloton coming up behind.