Sunday, August 12, 2007

Politics for the rest of them

We're planning a new feature for McClatchy's national website, called alt.campaign: politics for the rest of us. The premise is that we can assemble a collection of non-traditional, non-journalistic voices to augment and amplify the outstanding traditional journalistic coverage our bureau folks are providing on politics and the presidential campaign.

We offered a small sneak preview when one of the contributors (the 2004 National Slam Poetry Competition champ) posted his first video commentary on the site. He's the guy called Rives talking about the Democratic debate at Howard University. We've also signed up a screenwriter who will take real campaign events and spin them into a sitcom format with new endings every two weeks; a sassy pop-culture diva (she also blogs as Citizen Mom) to write essays and posts combining campaigning, celebrity and culture; and an especially cyberliterate pundit who will explore the extremes of the blogosphere and report on what he finds there.

Here's the promotion pitch planned for each:

Fade in: a campaign sitcom by Joe Acton
Sometimes it takes a little fiction to get you closer to the truth.

Moonbats & Wingnuts: Mark Paul surveys online commentary
We read all the rants so you don't have to.

Confetti Betty: politics & pop culture by Amy Z. Quinn
When rock meets righteousness, somebody ought to be watching.

Rives: on the scene but off the bus for Election 2008
America's 2.0 poet tracks the candidates with a fresh eye and uncensored voice.

Rant-O-Rama: your video soapbox
We provide a national platform for the campaign's most important voices: yours.

1 comment:

  1. Coming at it (and slightly off point) both as a journalism geek and as a voter who doesn't feel like any of the candidates particularly speak his language...

    I'm hoping something like this can engage not only readers to be interested in the election cycle, but also move beyond the interaction of the candidacies. I think candidates set the agendas rather narrowly and if you aren't involved in the perceived core constituency, you aren't involved in the agenda setting.

    There's a disconcerting feeling of inevitability about what is going to happen. Who is going to get nominated and thus, who gets profiled or gets the debate time. And it creates a feedback loop of disinterest _or_ interest in dark-horse candidates that the coverage of seems to encompass as, "those quirky outsiders." Seems a bit self-fulfilling.

    Instead of allowing the process to work as it's been scripted, my hope is that we can uncover issues of importance and take problems and issues from these "alternative" voices, conduct good journalism around those and ask candidates hard questions that are off of their talking points.

    Honestly, I can do without (or more accurately, less of) the horse race comparisons. Sure, who's earning the money and who it's coming from is important (hmm, user accessible/augmented databases), but I want to know how candidates propose to solve issues and I want to know if there is detail behind their proposals and when there's detail, what the feasibility of their solutions are.