News Track: Election Coverage (or lack thereof)

Story: Why the 2014 Midterms Matter – and Why Nobody Seems to Care,

Source: Vice News

Vice News wrote one story on the election yesterday. It didn’t make the first screen, included one photo (of an “I Voted” sticker), and included zero updates or results. For an organization claiming Americans should care about the midterm elections, they don’t seem to practice what they preach.

Within the first three graphs, Ari Ratner makes two claims – that Washington would not be fixed by the best-possible results in the then-anticipated midterms, and that the political system is broken. Tacked on to the end of his third graph, he adds “the stakes… remain high.”

Ratner goes on to explain what anyone with a basic understanding of this year’s midterm already knows: Republicans were favored to take back the Senate, and that it would be a victory for the democrats if the republicans fell short. And yet, the argument and its delivery fail to explain why we should care. So far, only Ratner has fallen short.

After all of that riveting non-news, Vice splices the story with a link to a completely unrelated documentary about coal mining. It feels as if Vice is as bored as Ratner is.

This reporter doesn’t blame Vice.

If Republicans succeed, expect a new series of confrontations. There will be showdowns with the President. There will be squabbling within their own caucus between hardliners angling for the party’s presidential nomination — such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz — and moderates who will have to protect their seats in 2016, when the electoral map favors Democrats.

Again, Ratner offers no new, insightful information. How are presidential showdowns or inner-caucus squabbles in any way different from the typical work day for a senator?

Ratner’s piece feels closer to a news summary, maybe even a News Track, than a story. He refers back to past election coverage, saying Vice focused their election coverage on the environment — an interesting, noble effort. However, we have no way to scroll through past stories excluding a collection of hyperlinks. Why not create a midterm election tab at the top of the page, alongside the Islamic State, Ferguson, Ebola and Ukraine?

It’s possible that, in the eyes of Vice (and potentially the rest of the world), death and destruction are far more newsworthy.



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