News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Max Jones

February 29, 2008

Max Jones: New twist in covering Vigo County politics

(Continued)

TERRE HAUTE —

Then things got really interesting.

One of the visible Democrats opposing Burke — and supporting Bennett — was attorney Mike Ellis, an Anderson ally. When the Democratic Central Committee took action to remove Mike Ellis as its secretary because of his perceived party disloyalty, he resigned his post and formed a new club, the FDR Democrat Club, to act as chief rival to the official Democratic Party.

And that brings us to a new primary season in which voters not only must size up candidates based on experience and qualifications, but also assess their alliances to political factions.

As a news organization with the responsibility of covering local politics and trying to make sense out of this on behalf of our readers, the ongoing battle for control of the Democratic Party presents unique reporting challenges. How best to approach the issue is something yet to be determined, and feedback from readers would be a valuable tool for us.

A fundamental question is, do you as readers and potential voters want to know the faction with which a candidate is aligned, if any? Or does any of this “political insider” stuff really matter to you?

Some political alliances will be obvious. Others will be less so. And there will be candidates who try to walk a fine line between the factions so as not to be seen as aligning themselves either way. How should the newspaper best explain this complex political landscape so that it is relevant to readers?

Bottom line, readers should be able to get what they want and need from our news coverage of local politics and elections. And they should get it delivered to them in a manner they view as accurate, complete, fair and in proper context.

I invite your comments.

Jones can be reached at (812) 231-4336, or by e-mail at max.jones@tribstar.com.

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