Casual commentary about political, cultural and economic issues with a particular interest on the city of Winnipeg by John Dobbin
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Civic and Provincial Election Coverage
I was a bit disappointed by the election coverage and the reporting on civics in general. Too often tough questions are not asked. The present mayor and council have too often been ignored in daily reporting on radio, TV and print media.
There are some good reporters out there and I enjoy their news stories and columns. However, there are number of news columnist who have free ranging columns who have not very rarely covered the civic election. There are some columnists who pick an issue and bloviate on it whatever the merits.
Tonight, it looks like the various TV news stations will cover election results and hopefully, they will have some good analysts because that is one thing I have not seen much of in the lead up to the election. I will be flipping around from radio to TV to print media sites to see the stories.
One tip of the hat goes to Red River College and its drive home talk show. I think it gave more candidate air time than any other medium. It covered civics even when a lot of the media put the "gone fishin'" sign up for the summer. The Great Canadian Talk Show did what no other media group did: Get attention and national attention at that. Marty Gold deserves a lot of credit for that.
A provincial election is coming up very soon. To a certain degree, the campaign has already started.
Here are my suggestions for better coverage of the election.
1. Assign reporters early to the leaders of the three main parties. However, don't ignore some of the other parties that might throw their cap in to the race.
2. Start now in determining dates and formats for debates. Make them an event. Host them together if that makes sense. Make sure that questions are not softballs.
3. Get your top columnists to do actual political reporting. And by all reporters, I'd even like to hear what the TV columnist might think of the ads each party is doing. I'd like to see the crime reporter analyze the policy platform in regards to justice.
4. Start covering the Legislative Assembly in more detail. This means that some editors who haven't left their office in years should go see the parties in action.
5. Make arrangements now for meetings with editorial boards and TV and radio appearances. The monthly premier report on a radio station doesn't count.
6. Do some investigative reporting. The basic question of whether you are better off now than at the last election is worthy of investigation.
7. Do the first rolling provincial poll as soon as the election campaign officially starts. Partner up with someone is if it expensive.
8. Bring back political panels. Given the amount of news time that the stations have to fill on radio and TV, bring in three (or more) spokesmen for the parties to give a weekly summary of what has happened. Have a media political panel. Have a blogger panel. For pete's sake, start talking about politics this year in advance of a provincial election.
9. Have a weekly or monthly column from the political leaders. Let them mix it up.
10. Do full reports and interviews of every candidate in the upcoming provincial election. I'd like to see some forums on justice and environment with candidates from each party. Ensure that each riding has a candidate debate and film it for everyone to see.
I'm sure there is a number of other thing that can be done but let's start early. The next election is less than a year away.