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« Property rights | Main | Power play »

Aug 01, 2007

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Lex

I'm not involved in the political coverage, but I can relate an experience that might be relevant.

Before the 1995 council elections, we commissioned a citywide poll of voters to ascertain what issues they were most concerned about. That poll took place in either July or early August, I can't remember which, but the first article resulting from the poll didn't run until August 18. Even then, it was more about voters and their issues/concerns than about candidates. AFTER that, we did more stories out of that poll, issue by issue, along with candidate profiles and background checks.

George Gilbert at the elections office credited that coverage with significantly increasing voter turnout, at least in the primary. I think he said that Motor Voter (which took effect that year) had boosted registered voters 12%, but the number who cast primary ballots actually went up 18%.

JR says there's not a pressing reason to do everything yesterday, or words to that effect. I would point out that even if you want to do everything yesterday (and I do, and I have to keep reminding myself that we're trying to launch a redesign), you can't do everything yesterday. But experience suggests that there's still time to do what matters.

Ed Cone

The N&R could move the ball forward by throwing up a simple webpage today that includes all known candidate websites, and announcing it at blogs and in the Scoop column in print.

Then you add content a little at time, and ask readers to help, and the whole thing melts into your neat new package when that goes online.

WillR

"Quick rush to judgment." We have an editor of one our local news outlets that has already bet on the outcome of our municipal elections.

This editor also called the 2005 election before it even got started.

In 2005 I thought "No problem, it's one guys opinion". But as that race continued I realized that the stories and news perspectives this news outlet produced tracked his initial prognostication in spite of changing circumstances.

Of course, I was more than a little interested in local coverage as a candidate for Chapel Hill Town Council. Even so, this wasn't editorial comment but news - to throttle it based on an early surmise seemed a bit off-beam.

Recently I heard the same editor predict the outcome of this year's race on our local radio station. As a returning candidate (yep, running in 2007 for Town Council) I decided to remind him about his 2005 track record and suggest, gently of course, that it would be great if his news outlet reported on the election as it was, not as they wished it to be...

I also will be tracking and reporting on the coverage. I don't plan to complain - we know that incumbents get the lion's share of attention - but to note any trends. It would be cool if other, less personally invested 'blogs would track coverage for all our local races in a methodical fashion but I don't expect that to happen (I would've been doing this if I hadn't decided to run).

Maybe someone in G'boro will show us how it's done?

Outdated

It is a great opportunity for the N&R to wean itself away from its favored format of big announcements, big names, big openings, and big ribbon cuttings. The N&R hammers on wanting to cover hyper local news. Mr. Robinson's attitude has the chilling effect of silencing and excluding many new voices and viewpoints that might help the community.

Alan Cone Bulluck

Why is Turdstache still the editor of that operation? He sends crap to print every single day. I have to read the Winston-Salem and Charlotte papers to get city news.

Anthony

The News and Record put up a quick and dirty blog for the Harry Potter book release. This is a bit more important, and could probably benefit from something similar while they gear up for their larger plans.

The CA

Wow. Ed is right. The substance of Ed's column vis-a-vis the difference between what JR is claiming and things on the ground is the important thing. Seems like Ed is saying JR is deaf to the noise.

Whether more or less coverage is warranted is a fair debate, but to claim that nobody is asking for more information when that is not the case is peculiar.

Yes! Weekly also ran a story this week touching on the preordained front runners. It seems that if the N&R finds the front runners newsworthy, so too should they find the same for everyone else in the race. Everybody or nobody- that's the only fair way to do it. This is especially important now when there is so much controversy and discontent with the status quo and the usual cast of characters that encompass it.

Lex

The News and Record put up a quick and dirty blog for the Harry Potter book release.

Yeah. On Blogspot, not our own site.

Anthony

Better than nothing.

Ed Cone

Not just better than nothing -- just as good in the short term as a more-robust platform, and basically indistinguishable to the average reader.

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