An Open Letter to the Local Print and Digital News Media’s Editors

(Local commercial radio and television – I’ve given up on you a while ago)

I know that a story about nincompoops being either extremely racially insensitive or … racist… gathers eyeballs, but we just had an election for goodness sake.  Have I  missed it or has the Times Standard failed to even mention Lisa Ollivier or John Fullerton.  Let’s remember at the last count, Lisa has a 80 vote lead.  You can report that.  You can say …. “Lisa Ollivier has a lead of 1 % in an incredibly low turnout election and we expect to be able to declare a winner ___. “

And oh … “local elections office expects to certify the results by December 3rd” doesn’t cut it.  You need to be invested in this process too.

There are plenty of potential stories or frames or angles.  What are the campaigns doing to lobby the election office?  Has either side conceded?  What would it take for them to concede?  When are we to expect an official winner?  Why does such a low turn out still require 36 hours to come up with a winner?  What procedures is the
County Registrar taking to insure an accurate count?

These would all be interesting angles.  I”m sure you can think of others too.  I can’t think of a more important story for you to cover in 2013.  An election – THE election.  Granted no one is interested, but maybe part of the reason is we have a media more interested in eyeballs than minds?

It’s a serious problem.

And I’m of course biased in favor of  Eureka election coverage as I am a resident – there are other races that deserve similar coverage.  All the other races have important stories behind them as well.  Local community members took the time to add their voice to local government.  They and the community their leadership will shape deserve a modicum of respect and coverage.

And, btw, if we have decided as a community that we are OK with winners being declared a month later, which in principle is fine.  We need to have coverage of the nuts and bolts of the counts – something.  Elections, even off year elections, are the beating heart of our local community and it seems as if we are content to have it’s importance judged by how entertained people are by it.

One more btw… as an audience, we are not privy to most of the media’s internal numbers like total sales, or page views.  One exception is the number of comments a story gets which can help to judge it’s popularity and thus importance to advertisers.  Here are the current Lost Coast Outpost talleys … Ferndale racial insensitivity incident:  804 comments.  Only online forum I’ve found for the Eureka School Board election:  5 comments.  (and 3 of them were mine)

Frustratedly yours,

Jon

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2 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Local Print and Digital News Media’s Editors

  1. pamsistrom says:

    Nothing! And so amazing that Lisa got so many votes. Even more amazing, the first NYC Democratic mayor in many years, yet the NYT strangely low key. One small photo of him, two small articles and no photos of his family. This man is a real progressive.

    1. I’m excited about what DeBlasio means for American politics Pam. I would take the NYT coverage any day – I haven’t followed it super closely, but it seems decent. I did notice a nice picture of the Republican on election day with his family, but, the press should be fair. Fair doesn’t mean giving equal time to both sides, it means judging news items and writing what should be written. Or something. 🙂 (words not forthcoming right now)

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