Five Questions to Ask About the Alabama Elections

Wednesday night, journalists from around the state will meet at the Montgomery Advertiser for an SPJ-sponsored forum to look back at the media coverage of the November 2 election.


Now that the 2010 Midterm eection is behind us, the Alabama Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is convening a discussion Wednesday night specifically about what happened here with our statewide elections in Alabama.

As the Birmingham News’ Joey Kennedy wrote, Alabamians woke up to  a different state last Wednesday morning, the day after voters gave Republicans control of both houses of the legislature for the first time in 136 years.

What role, if any, did the media outlets around Alabama play in this outcome?   Wednesday night, journalists from around the state will meet at the Montgomery Advertiser for an SPJ-sponsored forum to tackle some of these issues.

Here are five (5) questions, I’d like to pose as I get ready for Wednesday night’s event:

1. Did the news media focus too much of the national elections and not enough on the range of issues in the statewide elections?

2. As for the candidates, how much did the Alabama media “keep them honest” with the relatively new Web site, Bama Fact Check

3.  Were media across the state basically “unenthusiastic” about the candidates for the top offices and that had some effect on the outcome?

4.  What role did all the negative campaigning (especially vicious robocalls) play in the outcome?

5.  What role did newspaper endorsements, or in the case of the Montgomery Advertiser, the lack of endorsement, play in the election outcome?

We’ll see what we can learn from the event on Wednesday.

Alabama’s Election Day 2010 Ends Not a Moment Too Soon

If you’re like me, you are tired of all the robocalls with all the nasty attacks, the reminders from everyone from President Obama to State Senator Hank Sanders.

Did they actually think I would forget to vote?

Perhaps so since this was a rather low-key election cycle for those of us here in Alabama. None of the candidates for statewide office made this a very bitter or newsworthy race. The end result was predictable.

That’s why minutes after the polls closed. there were projections that our Tuscaloosa homeboy Richard Shelby had been re-elected. Duh? Did we really expect he wouldn’t be sent back to Washington?

Alabama was never really “in play” as the political analysts like to call states or places where the political control could shift from one party to another.

So, the yawner of a 2010 election cycle in Alabama is over. While I’ve had my ear to the cable news channels listening to returns, I’m not all that focused on Alabama.

I will be interested to see who won some of our local races in the West Alabama/Tuscaloosa area. But, then, it’s on to planning for the 2011 legislature, putting these candidates to the test to see if they will do what they said they will do.

We’ll know the names of the players in a matter of minutes.

Stay tuned.