Essentially at this point, it’s an in-house trade magazine — just one that’s monopolizing the resources of a bunch of national news companies.
The one point I think you undersell is that this early in the campaigns, the reporters are trying to establish relationships with the candidates and the campaigns that they hope will pay off farther down the line. (In some cases, they’re trying to write a book.)
Also, there’s a possibility of a huge story breaking that nobody wants to miss.
So it’s like CNN — all the 24-hour-news shows, really — waiting for something to happen that might catch your attention, but most of the time just funneling garbage to depraved addicts and captive audiences.