KELO website this morning and find that 15 of the front-page headlines deal with yesterday's stormy weather. Of 21 headlines, not one links to either the Republican or Democratic state conventions held this weekend.If you get all of your news from television, you'd think nothing happens in South Dakota but wind and rain. I check the
KSFY doesn't offer much better. On their newly revamped site—more butch banner font, but content scattered, slow, and video-heavy—convention info is absent from the front page, and the Vote 2010 widget hasn't been updated since the primary. There might be something convention related on the Latest News widget, but at the moment, that block at the top of the KSFY site is empty.
The Republican convention in Huron saw three contested constitutional offices. The Democratic convention in Sioux Falls surprised some observers by recruiting candidates every statewide office below that embarrassing spot we left open on the U.S. Senate line. The Dems also had a battle for the PUC nomination, with Doyle Karpen edging out John Zaiko on a tight margin inflated by the weighted voting system (political conventions in South Dakota do not operate on the "one man, one vote" principle, per SDCL 12-5-18—you should see our vote-count spreadsheet!). The Republicans launched a sneaky tricks lawsuit campaign against the Democrats' lieutenant governor nominee, and the crafty Dems defused the ploy with a quick voter registration switch.
KDLT and KSFY repeated the AP story on the Arndt kerfuffle, and KELO ran some AP releases Friday, but none of the local TV stations did original reporting on the conventions.
Once again, if you want good political coverage, you have to hit the papers or hit the blogs. Kudos to Dakota War College for updates from the GOP convention floor in Huron. And hand me my own horn: I did what I could to blog and Twitter from the Dems convention in Sioux Falls. I'll admit, it's easier to cover a story when you're not an active participant—pretty tough to tweet when you're crafting an education plank, listening to testimony on charter schools, and checking spelling and grammar. But when the paid journalists won't haul their TV cameras across town to cover the story, well, we participants have to do what we can to keep the public informed.
Update 2010.06.29: Professional journalist Bob Mercer responds to our criticism, blames the political parties for the lack of media coverage, and says we have to talk nice to them (or at least not talk mean) if we want them to come next time.
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