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Bring Your Change

Alright y'all. I am a serious journalist, working for a serious media company that is -- seriously -- committed to giving users the best possible media experience on their terms.

This Thursday, we'll be brainstorming ways of covering the election that will set a new, better standard. I feel, and I'm sure my colleagues would agree, that rather than having the media continue to define itself -- as it has done for many years -- that you should be present in that discussion.

Therefore, allow me to be your liason. If you care to, please deliver your input below. Serious responses only, please.1

Poll #1223497 What do YOU want from your media?

What information/media do you like in your election coverage?

What information/media do you dislike in your election coverage?

What do you want from the media in your election coverage? What's missing?

This poll is open to all. Please pass it on to your friends. The more input, the better.

For anyone who doesn't have a livejournal and doesn't feel inclined to set up a free account, feel free to leave an anonymous comment. Contact information is appreciated, but not required.

Also, I realize the entry fields are short. This is for quick skimming, but please and by all means feel free to expound upon your opinions in the comments as well.

Also, if you or anyone you know would like to be included on the near-daily news roundup I send out, please enter your e-mail here. It's not all boring straight news, I promise you.

1 As much as I might like to see articles written entirely in LOLspeak, I don't think that'd fly.

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 15th, 2008 05:52 am (UTC)
There should be journalistic standards, like ANSI or OSHA. Political news should be dry, just like politics or anything with rules and standards. But oh the power of the almighty dollar...
Jul. 15th, 2008 06:31 pm (UTC)
there are journalistic standards. the Society of Political Journalists has standards and so does the AP Guidebook.
Jul. 15th, 2008 05:54 am (UTC)
My responses, for the record:
What information/media do you like in your election coverage?

Concrete data, supportable numbers, and references I can read so I can do my own verification. I am very skeptical of statistics. I like knowing how they are gathered, I appreciate when a company releases the methodology. I like open-note stories, which are rare.

What information/media do you dislike in your election coverage?

I can't stand finger-pointing, name-calling, talking-points, and reactionary politics. It's just catty, it's never informative, and I feel if it stopped getting coverage, it would disappear because it takes a lot of energy to always be defensive, waiting for the next attack from the opposition.

What do you want from the media in your election coverage? What's missing?

Clear language, aka no slogans. "Fair and balanced" because a term that ends up meaning "somewhere there's a hidden bias." Instead of calling a battle in a war we're fighting, it's an incident or an insurgence or something. I don't think the news needs to be sterilized. I think we can be honest and call things what the are. Sometimes being politically correct and trying not to offend anyone dilutes the story to the point of being inaccurate, and as such useless. I also want more depth, especially regarding policy details and spending.

Edited at 2008-07-15 05:57 am (UTC)
Jul. 15th, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC)
i hate Polls. i hate them. they shouldn't count as news and the reporters never ever ever say things like demographical information about the population or how the sample was gathered or what tests they used. but most importantly, polls aren't news. and i mean any poll who's ahead in the race, approval rating, support for the war, whether Americans like Great Britian, any poll.
Jul. 16th, 2008 01:28 am (UTC)
amen to this, too. Screw Gallup.
Jul. 16th, 2008 01:27 am (UTC)
I think that straightforward facts would be nice in reporting-- if we depend on the media to help us decide who we should be looking at, I don't care how many kids somehone has or where they are this week, I want voting records and campaign platforms. I hate that every story has to sound partisan, even if the issuing agency isn't. Two sides and where they converge and diverge would be nice.
Jul. 16th, 2008 01:57 am (UTC)
What information/media do you like in your election coverage?
I like NPR, because they get COMPETENT experts from both sides and the folks that work for NPR let everything be said by the people they interview without putting words into their mouths or adding their own analysis. I also like the BBC because, not being Americans, they can take this with a reasonable amount of seriousness, because honestly most American News sources take the elections way too seriously. I even like it when they interview people off the street about their decision process because it gives a sense to how to what level of detail (or lack of) that most people form their choices.

What information/media do you dislike in your election coverage?
Logical fallacies. Anything that has a clear bias, especially when they try to hide it. I have my own biases and don't need others contradicting/supporting my own, just the facts. This may seem to contradict my previous statements, but understanding the public's bias is different than hearing bias from my news.

What do you want from the media in your election coverage? What's missing?
For one, better analysis of bills. Most news stations seem to think they can get away with a one sentience summary of a 80 page bill, whereas many politicians are very aware of many of the subclauses of the bill and making their decisions accordingly. I have yet to see many interviews with the soldiers and their take on the election, that would be interesting. I was probably a bit too specific there, but I would like to see longer articles that are more in depth in general. Most news sources have the same format of just scratching the surface, which makes it harder to do any in depth research since every news source has very similar (shallow) level of detail.

Jul. 16th, 2008 04:28 am (UTC)
What information/media do you like in your election coverage?

Facts. Real, useful information.

The current environment in the mass media is one of hypersensitivity. The quality of election coverage has taken a steep decline from past election years. It seems as though with this election cycle, the news media has, as a whole, decided to omit fact and reason, focusing instead on sensationalizing every insignificant detail while categorically ignoring the important issues facing the American people. While I tend more towards the internet for my news, as opposed to traditional media, the majority of what I've seen and heard over the past few months has been nothing but the controversy.

I want to see media coverage that goes beyond the superficial. For example, there was a bit of a to-do about Michelle Obama playfully punching Barack at their kid's soccer game. This video of this tells me a great number of things - that the Obama family is, at least on the surface, happy. That Barack, despite his efforts to become the Leader of the Free World(tm) is a man who will make the time for his children and that, even when tempted by his Crackberry, will put the damn thing down long enough to enjoy a game of pee-wee soccer.

Meanwhile, the media is generally more concerned about whose preacher is causing more of a scandal or who cracked a joke at the wrong time. For instance, CNN currently has, on their "political ticker" blog, two separate entries regarding McCain referring to cigarette exports to Iran as "...a way of killing them". Is this a good joke? Not really. Is it an appropriate joke? Not in the least. Did McCain think he was being funny? Probably.

Does McCain really want to kill Iranians? Deep down, I'm going to go with a definite maybe.

The point here is that he misspoke. Normal people do this all the time and it isn't a big deal. Maybe someone gets a little miffed. Admitted, it's slightly different if a president does it, but gosh darn it, they're human. I don't care if McCain puts his foot in his mouth. Even if I could vote and even if I were undecided (I'm Canadian, for the benefit of those who don't know me), I still wouldn't care. Let the election happen on real issues that face Americans, not the fact that John doesn't know when to use his inside voice every second of every day.

What information/media do you dislike in your election?

Editorials - stick to the facts.

As above, there's entirely too much focus on media sensation and not enough focus on who these people who want to rule the world really are. Case in point:

The New Yorker - Dear Sirs and Madams, It is with regret that I inform you that you have utterly failed at providing an unbiased viewpoint. I understand that editorials are kind of your bag, but when you're perpetuating completely inaccurate stereotypes (Obama's Christian, guys. We double-checked with Jeremiah Wright.), you're doing a disservice to your readers and those who believe that Obama really just might be a Muslim extremist.

Lay off the fear-mongering for a while and talk about McCain's plan for revitalizing the US economy.

What do you want from the media in your election coverage? What's missing?


See above, multiply by a factor of ten.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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