05 November 2008

Where does that election info come from?

Needless to say, I am

Our little city in Vermont busted at the seams last night. As my husband put it in an email, "Burlington erupted - literally thousands of people in the streets running and shouting." He also added, "SFC spent most of the night with tears in her eyes."

It is an exciting time.

We watched the election results at True Majority's offices, which happen to be in the same office as my husband. We had three TVs and six online streams going, all of different channels. The one thing we couldn't get was Jon Stewart (but if you did, I'd love to hear about it!)

One of the things we were discussing was how the different stations report different numbers and different times. There was also a lot of discussion about how they can report with so few precincts reporting. At one point, they were reporting on states with as few as 3%! That just sounds like an awesome example of evaluating information if I ever heard one. With so many "trusted" sources giving out instantaneous information, is it a majority rules scenario? Or is there a way to know, really know, if what we are getting off of the news "true"? And does it even matter?

One of my students in my HIS415 Seminar on Contemporary World Issues is talking about how she felt like the reporting was more interested in "drama" than in reporting. For example, as soon as the polls closed on the West Coast, not only did they immediately report California, Oregon, and Washington, but they also reported Florida and Colorado within minutes. Again, a great point that emphasizes the struggles we face in finding information we can trust, especially in a world overwhelming us with information.

Here is a blog post from the NYT discussing "covering the coverage". I am on the hunt for some additional anaylsis. If you find it, share it.

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