Rethinking political “B-matter”

Yesterday in our Advanced Reporting lecture, we (unsurprisingly) discussed everything about election coverage. While we talked about what worked well, we were pushed to think of ways we could better report election results.

Sometimes, actually probably more times than many would like, acceptance speeches can become mundane. The conventional way at reporting on these watch parties consists of three things.

  1. Add some color about the candidates watch party
  2. Include some brief biographical information
  3. Insert a quote or two from the candidate

But how can these ways be improved?

As I was covering the watch party for House District 47 candidate, John Wright, and intriguing vignette arose. Wright wasn’t sure if the election numbers were final. The website said 29 of 29 precincts had reported and he was up by about 700 votes. Yet Wright still looked to me, and other members of the media, if he had won.

I was certainly not ready to be put in that situation. However, isn’t that even a little bit interesting to read about? Wright didn’t want to celebrate prematurely so he was looking to us for guidance. With some creativity, it could be turned into a neat vignette about election parties and can be more fun to read than the conventional methods.

So I wrote up a little vignette for Tom Warhover, executive editor here at the Missourian. With some of Tom’s creative touch and editing, we turned it into a interesting story to read. (Keep in mind a story CAN be only a few paragraphs)

You can read the story on Tom’s blog post.

I’m rather fond of this thinking because it offers the reader something more. Something different. It may not always work, but it’s something to think about for future elections. Plus, it’s also 50 words shorter than the original.

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