(Action time, boys and girls! The first "American Blogger" winner takes flight--with YOU on board! - promoted by Paul Rosenberg)
I'm proud to announce the launch of the Swing State Newspaper Project (apologies to Swing State Project for the similarity of the name), with the initial targeting diary HERE.
The idea came about in the American Blogger series initiated by Paul Rosenberg. You can jump right in by clicking the link if you want to, but to get yourself grounded, especially if you're not familiar with idea, or need a refresher, this diary explains it all for you.
Here was the original impetus for the idea,
If you've ever spent time reading local and regional newspaper sites on the internet, you've probably noticed a disturbing phenomenon; right-wingers have run amok in the comments sections of the newspapers. Progressives may rule blogs and online fundraising and organizing, but when it comes to influencing more traditional media, even if it's in an internet forum, we lag behind. Sometimes far behind. This becomes increasingly problematic as we draw closer to the election. Many more voters read online newspapers than read blogs. So it becomes very important to not only rebut these ignoramuses, but to provide additional context and knock down bad information in news articles covering the presidential race.
To combat this I suggested we monitor online newspaper sites in key swing states until the election. Readers would comment on stories, knock down attacks, add truth to the discussion, and in many cases, contact reporters directly to encourage better reporting (if they got it wrong) or thank them for outstanding writing (if they got it right).
After getting a lot of good ideas for how to carry this idea forward (see here), I've come up with a plan for how to proceed. We'll see how this goes. It may need to be modified or expanded if the project is a success, but I'm ready to get it started.
I have compiled a list of 95 newspapers from 20 swing states around the country. I started this list a few weeks ago, so there's a few states that have moved into swing territory since then (mainly solid blue to lean blue) that aren't on my list (e.g. Minnesota and Oregon). I may add newspapers from these states in the future if warranted, but at this point, I'm thinking these states will move back to solid Obama shortly.
What I will do is post a diary and then update it, once a day, every day, until the election. The link to this diary is HERE. In this diary I will link to five different newspaper articles. If Obama and McCain are in a swing state on a particular day, I will try to include articles from that/those state(s). If it is a particularly important state or campaign visit, I will probably include more than one newspaper from that state. For example, Obama was in Jacksonville, FL this week talking about offshore drilling. For this project then I would try to link to at least two articles from two different newspapers in the state that covered the story. If there are any remaining article slots (of the five for that day), I will randomly choose a swing state newspaper and link to a story from that paper on the election.
Each day I will post a Quick Hit letting people know when the article list for that day has been updated. Some days, when I'm traveling or up against a work/school deadline I won't be able to post articles. On these days, I'd be happy to pass off the duties to anyone else who'd like to fill in. Let me know in the comments if you're interested in something like that and we can set something up.
Originally I proposed that we monitor just one swing state newspaper for an entire week. But I nixed this idea because I don't think there's time to focus on just one paper for 7 whole days. And as long as I'm taking responsibility for finding the articles, I think we can get pretty wide coverage and still maintain a focused effort. I already read an inordinate amount of newspapers every day, so this shouldn't be much of a burden for me to keep this up until the election. The first test run is going on NOW. Comments and questions about this plan are welcome.
Here's the list of newspapers. I've compiled info on the state they're in, the newspaper name and website, the home city, the city's metro population, whether they allow comments on stories, and whether the reporter's email address is provided. In almost all cases I picked newspapers representing the five largest metro areas in the state. I left out two newspapers that would otherwise be on the list because they don't allow comments and don't post the reporter's email address (Dayton, OH and Concord, NH).