A Certain Lack of Focus

Monday, January 28, 2008

Stalking the Election

obamaFor the last few years I've been a bit obsessive about elections. Ok, specifically, since 2004. In 2006, I was so excited about the prospect of Republicans getting the boot that as the evening results came in I sat by my computer on an election website, hitting refresh every ten seconds, and listening to the radio for any new results (no TV). When Ohio voted in a Democratic senator, I ran into the other room where Matt was on a conference call and waved around a piece of paper where I'd written in sharpie: "Ohio is a BLUE state!"

I'm a visual person (duh) so I find it easier to process election results with charts and maps, and side by side comparisons. Yesterday, after finding out that Obama beat Hillary in South Carolina (boy did he ever!) I was looking around for some visual explanation of what exactly it meant, and preferably, for a reminder of the past few primaries and which of them actually mattered (anyone else finding this year's election more than usually confusing with all these primaries that don't count because they're too early etc?). I looked on MSN, where I spend more time than I'd like to admit, and CNN and couldn't find much, I mean, I know it must be there SOMEWHERE but I couldn't seem to run across that.

Haven't any of these news sites heard of ease of usability? People do want election specific results (I can't be the only one) and a page dedicated to that is expected. Maybe they even have one and I just couldn't find it. But seriously? I could have designed a much better path to election results.

nprmapSo finally it occurred to me to check NPR's website, the site I'd haunted in 2006 and the station I'd been listening to. They had *gasp* a page dedicated to the election and, wait for it, graphs, maps and yes, side by side comparisons. I gotta say I'm a little disappointed in CNN. I'd always considered them the basic, unbiased source for finding out what's going on, but lately they've been getting more rating hungry, using fearmongering that would make Bush jealous, and apparently, giving a lower quality of information. I've trusted NPR since I started listening to it, but I always think of NPR as focusing on more human interest, unusual, slightly off the beaten path stories, with news news taking only about half the attention. You know, stories on cow farmer struggles in Wyoming and the high level theoretical discoveries by some Canadian physicist VS. weather, war and ELECTIONS. A bit more widely spread is what I'm saying. So that NPR's site is that much more effective and easy to use is, while commendable for NPR, kinda pathetic of CNN. Anyway.

What I'm really getting at is the long awaited announcement that npr.org/ is now the OFFICIAL ELECTION WEBSITE of Meagan B. Call and Hades Arrow Incorporated (there's not really any incorporated, it's just me). I Meagan Call do endorse NPR. I know the suspense has been killing you.

*Images from NPR... possibly illegal but I'm ENDORSING them, to all five of my readers, hello! Right, anyway I'll take them down if someone (someone from NPR that is) asks me.

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