Thursday, November 7, 2013

Flint Journal editor responds to the missed election coverage

The Flint Journal editor stepped up and took the blame for the lack of competent election coverage. It was the right thing to do, but the comments are pretty brutal nonetheless.

Update: Poynter has an article about this as well.

Update: Jim Romenesko has chimed in as well.

Media drops the ball on Flint City Council race

Let's expand a little on the previous post that talks about a convicted murderer getting elected to City Council in Flint. I went back to see what kind of coverage the Flint Journal did on the run up to the election on the candidates. A name search of Wantwaz Davis, the convicted murderer who was elected shows several previous stories. Here was a story on his second place finish in the primary, which includes no mention of his criminal background.

Here's the story done in the run up to the election that appears to be a Q & A that was likely filled out by the candidate and submitted. In the past a reporter would have been at least required to do a background check of the Journal files and perhaps a Nexus check of a person just to see if there was something to flag in their background. It also appears there was little or no editing of the comments provided by the candidates. Flint is in lower case and the sentences are not well crafted. So either they were cut and paste from what the candidate submitted or the editing is worse than I thought at the new

By the way, the story is headlined "Everything you need to know about the Fifth Ward City Council Race."  It appears that everything didn't include the fact that one of the candidates was a convicted murderer. As a voter, I might like to know that. Maybe not, but I think that's key information.

Then the first story after the election (Wouldn't a headline "Flint elects convicted murderer" been a juicy headline) buried in this story is an brief accounting of the Flint Council race.

And there is just so much irony in this  MLive video of Wantwaz Davis talking about people with felony convictions not being able to get jobs. Wouldn't it have been fun to hear the reporter behind the camera ask him about his own felony conviction in this video staged in front of a crime scene?

Certainly you can blame voters, but most voters still count on the media - print and broadcast - to provide them the basic information they need about elections. The failure of media, both locally and nationally is epic, and part of the blame goes directly to the downsizing and "youth movement" in the media. Too few reporters and excessive demands coupled with fast food pay is not a recipe for journalistic success.

It wouldn't have been hard to find out either. A simple Google name search turned up a legal settlement for prisoner Wantwaz Davis from his time in prison.

It's just a matter of hours or days that this will be a national story and a national embarrassment for the local media

When the media allows the people they cover to basically determine what you write about them, this is what you get.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Election coverage ain't what it used to be

Despite glowing reports on how coverage of news has gotten better even with all the cuts somehow the recent election coverage somehow missed that a convicted murderer was running for office. And, he got elected!

A bit of a black eye for the election reporting team I would say.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The New Media - See No, Speak No, Hear No Evil

This article from Jim Romenesko highlights a lot that is wrong with the emerging new media.