Monday, August 3, 2009

Election Q&As

Today's is the second in this series, in which the Courier asks all the candidates to write answers to the same question in 65 words or less.

Now I'm not particularly wordy myself, but 65 words seems like an awfully tight restriction if you want the voters to learn anything worthwhile. One might infer that the editors are limiting the candidates for space if Cindy's background preamble to the question didn't take up at least half the story. I also notice that sometimes she includes candidate quotes up there too. So we have the form of a level playing field without the substance of allowing every candidate equal and sufficient space to answer the question.

I know the editors probably think they're making fair rules for these things. I just wish they would think through what they're doing, so that the result will be better for the voters and the paper. It's this sort of incompetence that makes people roll their eyes whenever you mention the Courier.

Update, Tuesday 3:30pm: I had the feeling that the answers given in the Courier sounded an awful lot like answers at the candidate forum last week, so I asked my neighbor Paul Katan about the Courier's process. He told me that his answers are indeed new and written entirely by him for this series, so Cindy was not cribbing from the forum recording.

He mentioned that part of his answer to the economy question was left out of the paper, and he complained. I see on checking the Web version of the story that the editor has gone back in to add the omitted section in bold, with a note that the omission was a mistake. I think this may be the first online correction I've seen.

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