Friday, August 04, 2006

A Frustrating Night For Following Election Returns

Based on last night’s election performance, The Commercial Appeal needs to reassess its partnership with WREG-TV.

Those of us who logged on to the CA’s website, assuming that it would offer the most accurate, up-to-the-minute election returns, were proudly informed that its collaboration with Channel 3 would give us the best coverage of the election.

That’s why it was a shock to realize about 90 minutes later that the returns on the website weren’t keeping up with the tallies being shown on WMC and WPTY. In fact, some of the results that we were watching online were not even updated after the early returns. In addition, even when we got returns, we had no idea what percentage of the vote had been counted.

Even this morning, the results on the WREG-TV link were not the final ones and didn’t even agree with the vote totals in the CA’s own articles. But then again, with the dwindling, meager staffing that Scripps-Howard headquarters has mandated, the newspaper gave indications of struggling to keep up with the down-to-the wire races.

With the final count coming after midnight, the CA was likely a chaotic scene, as reflected in this morning’s on-line edition. If you click the headline, “Wharton coasts to victory,” the body of the story is actually about Steve Cohen’s victory in the Democratic primary for Congress.

It was a frustrating evening for those of us who care about local politics, and we can only hope that someone finally decides to get serious about online election returns.


LeftWingCracker said...

Ah, yes, remember when we had a fully functional daily newpaper in Memphis?

Come back, Angus, come back!

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, but most people haven't considered the CA to be the medium of record for some time. Only the power elite (in Memphis how oxymoronic is THAT phrase), and the old-guard feel the anachronistic print giant is the bearer of all things good and holy in news. And, while we're at it, as a professional muckraker and potshot-taker at all things media, credit where credit is due. I'm not quite sure what happened at WPTY, or "Eyewitness News" as is now the preferred label, but it has gone from something God-awful and just unwatchable, to what seems to me to be the only TV news operation in the city that has a pair. Say what you want, but somebody has breathed fire into the staff on Union Extended and, IMHO, it's the only TV news operation that seems to understand that kissing the collective politico posterior is not the way to do real journalism. Can anyone here report the reason for the renaissance?

mike said...

And the numbers they were giving through that blue insert page on some websites didn't bother to tell you how many precincts the numbers represented at any given moment.

Not only that, but the Election Commission's own webpage for election results was inaccessible last night and this morning.

Not a "world class" performance.

George in Memphis said...

I, too, have wondered why friends say the ND at WMC has put a dartboard in the newsroom with the 'PTY ND's picture on it. Anyone else heard that one?

Smart City Consulting said...

We agree about WPTY, and it seems to labor in the shadows, but it is frequently the station breaking some big stories, such as the FedExForum garage, which it began reporting on about 6-9 months ago. We don't know the reasons for the improvements, but they are palpable.

Also, as to the Election Commission, do you know a poorer showing by one representing almost a million people? Surely, it's not expecting too much to be able to get real time election results from the people charged with that responsibility.