Project Launch: Swing State Newspaper Comments

Hi all, I'm starting a new election project to get people involved in local newspaper coverage of the presidential election. I'm cross-posting this from over at openLeft. I hope you'll join in the effort.

(cross-posted from
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, 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.

Go to the extended entry to see the plan.

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).

State Newspaper City Population Story Comments? Reporter Email?
AK Anchorage Daily News Anchorage 362,340 Yes Yes
AK Daily News-Miner Fairbanks 97,484 Yes Yes
AK Juneau Empire Juneau 30,690 Yes No
AK Kodiak Daily mirror Kodiak 12,997 No Yes
CO Denver Post Denver 2,464,866 Yes Yes
CO Rocky Mountain News Denver 2,464,866 Yes Yes
CO The Gazette Colorado Springs 609,096 Yes Yes
CO The Daily Camera Boulder 290,262 Yes Yes
CO The Coloradoan Fort Collins 287,574 Yes Yes
FL Miami Herald Miami 5,413,212 Yes Yes
FL Palm Beach Post Miami 5,413,212 No Yes
FL St. Petersburg Times Tampa 2,723,949 Yes Yes
FL Orlando Sentinel Orlando 2,032,496 Yes No
FL Florida Times-Union Jacksonville 1,300,823 Blog Only Yes
GA Atlanta Journal-Constitution Atlanta 5,278,904 No Yes
GA Augusta Chronicle Augusta 528,519 Blog Only Yes
GA Savannah Morning News Savannah 329,329 Yes Yes
GA Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Columbus 282,756 Yes Yes
GA The Telegraph Macon 229,846 Yes Yes
IA Des Moines Register Des Moines 546,599 Yes Yes
IA Quad-City Times Davenport 376,160 Yes Yes
IA Cedar Rapids Gazette Cedar Rapids 252,784 Yes No
IA Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier Waterloo 163,329 Yes Yes
IN Indy Star Indianapolis 1,695,037 Yes Yes
IN Northwest Indiana Times Gary 698,971 Yes Yes
IN Journal Gazette Fort Wayne 410,070 No Yes
IN Evansville Courier & Press Evansville 349,717 Yes Yes
IN The Courier-Journal Louisville (KY, part) 213,131 Yes No
MI Detroit Free Press Detroit 4,467,592 Yes Yes
MI Detroit News Detroit 4,467,592 Yes Yes
MI Grand Rapids Journal Grand Rapids 776,7442 Yes Sometimes
MI Lansing State Journal Lansing 456,440 Yes Yes
MI Flint Journal Flint 434,715 Yes No
MO St. Louis Post Dispatch St. Louis 2,803,707 Blog Only Yes
MO Kansas City Star Kansas City 1,985,429 Yes Yes
MO News-Leader Springfield 420,020 Yes No
MO Columbia Missourian Columbia 162,314 Yes No
MO Columbia Daily Tribune Columbia 162,314 No Yes
MT Billings Gazette Billings 149,657 Yes No
MT Missoulian Missoulian 105,650 No Newsdesk Only
MT Bozeman Daily Chronicle Bozeman 87,359 Yes Yes
MT Great Falls Tribune Great Falls 81,775 Yes No
MT Helena Independent Record Helena 71,119 Yes No
NC Charlotte Observer Charlotte 1,651,568 Blog Only Yes
NC News & Observer Raleigh 1,527,253 Yes Yes
NC News Record Greensboro 698,497 No Yes
NC Winston-Salem Journal Winston-Salem 463,159 Yes Yes
NC Asheville Citizen Times Asheville 404,320 Yes Yes
ND The Forum Fargo 192,417 No Yes
ND Bismarck Tribune Bismarck 103,242 Yes Yes
ND Grand Forks Herald Grand Forks 97,691 No Yes
ND Minot Daily News Minot 63,465 Yes Yes
ND The Dickinson Press Dickinson 23,256 No Yes
NE Omaha World-Herald Omaha 829,890 No Yes
NE Lincoln Journal Star Lincoln 292,219 Yes Yes
NM Albuquerque Journal Albaquerque 835,120 Sometimes Sometimes
NM Las Cruces Sun-News Las Cruces 198,791 Yes Yes
NM Santa Fe New Mexican Santa Fe 142,955 Yes Yes
NM Farmington Daily Times Farmington 122,427 Yes Yes
NM Roswell Daily Record Roswell 62,595 Yes Yes
NH Boston Globe Boston (part) 699,056 No Yes
NH Nashua Telegraph Nashua 402,302 Yes Yes
NH The Union Leader Manchester 402,302 Yes No
NH Keene Sentinel Keene 77,725 Yes Yes
NV Las Vegas Review-Journal Las Vegas 1,836,333 Yes Yes
NV Las Vegas Sun Las Vegas 1,836,333 Yes Yes
NV Reno Gazette-Journal Reno 410,272 Yes Yes
NV Nevada Appeal Carson City 54,939 Yes Yes
NV Record Courier Gardnerville 45,406 Yes Yes
OH Cincinnati Enquirer Cincinnati 2,133,678 No Yes
OH Cleveland Plain Dealer Cleveland 2,096,471 Yes Yes
OH Columbus Dispatch Columbus 1,754,337 No Yes
OH Akron Beacon Journal Akron 699,356 Yes Yes
OH Toledo Blade Toledo 650,955 Blog Only Yes
PA Philadelphia Inquirer Philly 5,827,962 Yes Yes
PA Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Pittsburgh 2,355,712 No Yes
PA Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Pittsburgh 2,355,712 No Yes
PA The Morning Call Allentown 803,844 Yes Yes
PA The Times-Tribune Scranton 549,430 Yes Yes
PA The Patriot-News Harrisburg 528,892 Sometimes Yes
SC The State Columbia 716,030 Yes Yes
SC The Post and Courier Charleston 630,100 Yes Yes
SC The Greenville News Greenville 613,828 Yes No
SC The Herald-Journal Spartanburg 275,534 Yes Yes
SC The Sun News Myrtle Beach 249,925 Yes Yes
VA The Virginian-Pilot Virginia Beach 1,658,754 Yes Yes
VA Richmond Times-Dispatch Richmond 1,212,977 Yes Yes
VA The Free Lance-Star NOVA (part) 906,212 Yes Yes
VA Roanoke Times Roanoke 296,532 No Yes
VA The News Advance Lynchburg 243,580 Yes Yes
WI Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Milwaukee 1,544,398 No Yes
WI The Journal Times Racine (Chicago, part) 873,162 Yes No
WI Wisconsin State Journal Madison 555,626 Yes Yes
WI Green Bay Press-Gazette Green Bay 301,131 Yes Yes
WI The Post-Crescent Appleton 218,023 Yes Yes

Let's get started!


This is good.

Thanks for cross-posting.


PS Everyone, please recommend this (click the stars) so we can see what happens when a post gets lots of recommends.

Thanks James

I got the idea after reading the N&O's Under the Dome blog one too many times.

Love this idea

I really like this idea. Especially with the amount of viral lies that we are having to deal with this is a great way to create some dedicated pushback. I hope everyone takes some time out of their day to do this.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

Thank you!

I'm trying to make it as painless as possible by focusing everyone's attention on a couple of articles each day.

Does anyone have a suggestion as to what's the best way to link to the openLeft diary that I'll be updating every day with the articles? On that website, they have a "Quick Hits" sidebar that easily allows me to announce to everyone reading that blog that the diary has been updated the with days articles. But BlueNC doesn't have that. And since I'd like to reach the widest audience, particularly those that don't regularly read openLeft, is there a way to quickly let people know on BlueNC that the article links are ready?

Have you considered a Google Group?

If you set up a Google group, those who join could recieve action alerts for rapid response items.

I like Google Groups because each member can set their account to "no email" and check messages only on the site or choose to recieve each email.

You could spread the word about joining the group, via blogs.

Just an idea, I obviously no clue where you are with this project.

Good work!

NCDem Amy on YouTube


That might be the best idea. I guess in the meantime until I get that set-up I'll probably cross-post the daily article list here.

I'll sign up

I think it's good to post a list on blogs too. But, if you expect people to go look for something, rather than deliver right to them, they are less likely to access it, imo.

Thus, also having the google group.

Google groups allows you to upload docs too if you wanted to keep an archive of your blog post lists.

Either way, I'll try to help out by responding. Thanks for the doing the research each day!

NCDem Amy on YouTube