Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Local election coverage in ADN the big loser

I woke up this morning to check the news on unofficial election results for Palmer. 
It wasn't easy.
City council incumbents Richard Best and Ken Erbey easily retained their seats against challenger Elden Tritch. 
A surprise, at least to me: the smoking ban in Palmer bars passed by a wide margin with roughly 60 percent of the 735 ballots tallied this week in favor.  
Another surprise: the Anchorage Daily News, at least in the form of, had nothing on the Palmer, Wasilla, Houston or boroughwide elections. Including the election of the mayor of the Mat-Su Borough. 
They did run a story on the Anchorage budget. Yet another homicide investigation. Both stories take time and resources. But there was also a “rare century-old Alaska $5 bill to be auctioned in Texas,” updated at 6:01 a.m. 
I kept checking for at least a brief mention of Palmer and the Mat-Su. By noon, still nothing. Oh, except an AP story on Juneau, Sitka, North Pole and Fairbanks election results. 
The Frontiersman’s Web site had election news leading the page, but they’ve recently switched to an online subscription model and I haven’t signed up. 
Long rant short, I was hard-pressed to get local election results with any kind of analysis from my usual media sources this morning. 
I got them at the Mat-Su Borough Web site, where results were immediately available, probably thanks to former journalist Patty Sullivan who is still invested in getting information to the public quickly, accurately and in a readily accessible form. I went to the City of Palmer Web site, where clerk Janette Bower posted a link to election results in the same manner: right there on the home page. 
I know how hard everyone is working at the Daily News these days. The three Post founders met there, and we realize that the editorial staff has been gutted by layoffs and attrition. I still know many reporters and editors there. I respect them. 
But it just takes a few minutes to post a paragraph summarizing election results and add a link to the actual information. Just a few minutes to let Mat-Su readers know the paper hasn't written us off entirely unless if we do something crazy, illegal or in the path of a natural disaster. 
By the way, I sent an e-mail to the news desk wondering about the omission. I still haven’t heard back. 
Here’s a link to Palmer’s election results:

-- Zaz Hollander

1 comment:

Lisa said...

The Frontiersman site mentioned nothing about the Houston race, and the race here was extremely close. You would have thought that deserved a mention. As a Houston resident I ended up checking our city website, as well as the Borough site.