13 November 2012

First step for the Post Metro section - report local election results

This weekend, Patrick B. Pexton, the Washington Post's ombudsman, wrote an article lamenting his paper's coverage of local news [The Post forgets to be local]. In it, he states that the complaint he hears most is that "The paper is so thin" and that the Metro section could use some more heft.
Map of Ward 5 from ancdc.us

I recommend the following as a start: actually report the election results for the representatives most closely tied to the people in the city that the paper calls its home: the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners.

To the best of my knowledge, these results have not been published by a single print medium in DC (to this point). If you want them, you need to go to the Board of Election's results page. This is fantastic if you have internet access, but much of the city's population does not, and gets its news from the daily paper and evening television news, just like we all did two decades ago. Elderly neighbors and people who don't obsessively check local blogs need a place to find this information that's accessible to them.

This wouldn't need to be a flashy story, and it certainly wouldn't need a novel infographic. Just a simple map for each ward, like the one above, along with a list of each candidate and the results.

Simple. Informative. Necessary (information is the lifeblood of a functioning democracy). And the best part: NO ONE ELSE HAS DONE IT. The Post can take the lead here.

To be certain, it would be a week late, so perhaps it doesn't qualify as news anymore, but it would be a service to residents whom the Washington Post and its ombudsman yearn to serve. The new commissioners don't take office until after the first of the year, so this would still give residents time to familiarize themselves with their new representatives.

What do you say, Mr. Pexton? See what you can do about getting this feature in the paper. It might add two pages to a thin Metro section.


  1. Your link is only showing results from the April primaries, not the November election.

  2. Thanks - just updated the link.

  3. I don't see why its age would preclude it from being "news" given how much stuff I see in the Post's local section that is simply reprinted, without additional investigation or context, from police blotters and county websites earlier in the week.


You can be curmudgeonly too, but let's try to be civil and constructive here, ok?