Things I wish I’d written: the media’s non-all-nighter

I suspect my ex-colleague and still-friend Adam Platt doesn’t get the hits his Mpls.St.Paul magazine blog deserves.

Platt, a former Twin Cities Reader media critic, has a pith and grit that makes his analytic forays worth reading. This morning, he captures a frustration I experienced late last night trying to follow the Coleman-Franken cliffhanger.

Adam writes:

One of the bigger disappointments of the evening was how many local media organizations bailed on the race. Despite the Star Tribune‘s new twenty-four-hour online emphasis, its coverage of the race was useless for anyone trying to figure out where the uncounted votes sat and wanting analysis of the uncounted vote that was out there. Terrible.

I want you to give Adam your link love, so I won’t paste any more of the piece. His gold-star goes to WCCO-AM. The only thing I’d disagree with is his negative assessment of MPR’s analysis, though he’s right that Gary Eichten and crew signed off too early — albeit at 2 a.m.!

(There’s also a section on Dean Barkley, Betty McCollum and Playboy magazine that’s worth the price of admission.)

For this bleary-eyed obsessive, last night was further proof that if the media doesn’t give you what you want, you have to create it.

My best post-3 a.m. info source was Twitter, the microblogging social network that limits you to 140 characters per post.

There, a free-floating community of informed civilians and news junkies — me (@dbrauer in Twitter parlance), Channel 4’s Jason DeRusha (@derushaj), Blois Olson (@bloisolson), E-Democracy’s Steve Clift (@democracy), Twin Cities Daily Liberal’s Jeff Rosenberg (@jeffrosenberg) — traded links and analysis.

I went to bed around 4, somewhat sated, limited not by others’ programming decisions but by my own endurance.

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Comments (3)

  1. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 11/05/2008 - 11:13 am.

    This is spot-on, especially the part about Twitter. I really wonder how media organizations (and other info outlets) will adapt to this facet of the Internet economy.

    The issue’s immediacy, for one, but also ease of use. Twitter’s not great for many things, but it works well with this. One answer might be integrating a box of a site’s tweets on the relevant page during an event like the election — say, on the politics page.

    This might solve the one-stop shopping problem that drives traffic to a destination while still attracting readers to the main site you want them refreshing.

  2. Submitted by Bill Wareham on 11/05/2008 - 05:10 pm.

    Just to be clear, MPR didn’t go away at 2 a.m.. We had Phil Picardi providing updates during breaks in the BBC as the final returns came in at a hobbled snail’s pace. (Another .02% of precincts from St. Louis county reporting!!!)

    We had reporters with Franken and Coleman – had either campaign had anything to say we would’ve gone live. Cathy Wurzer fired up her mic at 4 a.m. and Mike Mulcahy was still here when I left just before 5:30 a.m.

    So I think our audience was pretty well served and would’ve been privy to any developments as soon as they happened. There just wasn’t much new to say during those hours.

    Believe me, I know that political junkies need their fixes; it took a lot of willpower not to check Twitter as I stumbled toward bed.

  3. Submitted by David Brauer on 11/05/2008 - 05:25 pm.

    Bill – Fair point. I actually didn’t listen to WCCO because I was enjoying the BBC and Phil.

    But I would argue that in a race that at times dipped within 50 votes, each new reported precinct was quite a bit more dramatic than usual.

    That said, I wish there had been SOME media place for the wee hour drama to play out. MPR.org would’ve been one possibility, but there are others, and perhaps I should’ve done it here at MinnPost.

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