Monday, October 01, 2007

Not Covering the Election

The Northeastern University student newspaper, The Northeastern News, ran an Op-Ed today by Derek Hawkins on how little information there is about the Boston City Council preliminary municipal election last week and municipal election next month:
There's a rumor around the city that there's going to be a City Council election this fall. Just a rumor, though. Only the bloggers are talking about it. If you've been reading the Globe or The Herald, you probably wouldn't have heard...

The reality is we're about six weeks away from a full election of the City Council and no one, besides a handful of local bloggers and activists, seems to care -- not even the city's major newspapers.
Well, actually five weeks and a day, but who's counting?  Hawkin is clearly a reader of the blogs, picking up this thread running from David Bernstein in the Boston Phoenix's Talking Politics blog, Adam Gaffin on Universal Hub, me on Brighton Centered (here and here), and a comment I made on a start-up blog, Municipally Wasted.

He gets the story right, or at least in agreement with my opinion:  the city-wide Mainstream Media newspapers have barely covered the campaign and election, while coverage here in Allston-Brighton has instead been led by the online press (Brighton Centered Blog and Allston Brighton Community Blog) and the local paper (Allston-Brighton TAB).

He quoted me (from my comment posted on Municipally Wasted) as saying that this election "may be the most thoroughly documented race in the city's history," which was specifically a reference to the voter materials made available in the weeks and months leading up to the election:  transcripts and audio from three candidate forums; candidate responses to two questionnaires; campaign finance reports posted online; candidate public comments and positions on two proposed development projects; and interviews.

But my comment could easily be generalized to include reported coverage and analysis of the race:  online presence and its effectiveness; campaign finance analysis; articles analyzing the performances at two forums; background on various other issues; and so on.  I think the public is lucky to get 10-25% of that kind of coverage in past races.  If anyone can name a Boston City Council race that has been as well-covered as this one in District 9, then please tell me.

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