UPDATED: Two alt media blogs spring up for election

UPDATE:

Following my critiques of the rabble.ca election blog, publisher Kim Elliott explained that it was put together quickly once it became clear that an election was certain. There is now a title at the top of the blog. Elliott describes it as “Maybe not so flashy, but I like it.” The site is also now hosting some multimedia, including a couple youtube videos – one pointing to the danger of a Conservative majority and the other critiquing the “old time Liberal arrogance” of Michael Ignatieff. Rabble.ca is also asking people to post photos to flickr with a “rabblefederal” tag. You can find a curious and frightening rendering by John Maclennan of the Harper family portrait. To add some star appeal to the site, singer Matthew Good has also posted to the blog

Amongst Canada’s indie media on the web, two new blogs have
popped up to fill the role of elections watchdog. On Sept. 7 the
national progressive news site rabble.ca announced the launch of a blog covering everything election-related and the following day, BC-based daily news magazine The Tyee did the same.

“Rabble.ca has launched a multi-authored federal election blog with
correspondents across the country including some of Canada’s most
prominent progressive writers bringing you commentary and analysis on
the issues that matter,” proclaims the front page of the website. The
list of bloggers is lengthy: co-founder/CEO of Now Magazine
Alice Klein; past NDP candidates El Farouk Khaki and James Laxer
(writer of a renowned book-length critique of the party’s economic
policies); researchers and writers with the Canadian Centre for Policy
Alternatives and Council of Canadians; unionists from the Canadian
Union of Public Employees, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers
Union and the Canadian Labour Congress; Vicky Smallman from Equal Voice
(a group advocating for greater female representation in government),
and former BC Deputy Minister of Transportation Blair Redlin.

Smallman
reports that “Conservative women are running in 13% of their winnable
ridings, Liberal women in 24%, New Democrats in 35% and the Bloc in
32%. If these numbers don’t shift in the next two weeks as more
candidates are nominated, we’re not looking at much of a change in the
next Parliament, no matter what the outcome.”

Redlin attempts to
breakdown some of the key political issues of the day, pointing out,
“This election is about way more than framing, scandal or spin. It’s
about whether Canada’s about to get harsher, meaner and more
militaristic.”

Laxer tries to cut the spin with figures: 55 per
cent – the proportion of Canadians who want to bring the troops home,
and 96 – the number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan. “The
mainstream media provide few opportunities to those who believe the
mission should be ended,” writes Laxer.

The rabble site
is set up like a typical blog, but the design is much simpler than some
of the mixed multimedia sites we’re used to today. Design-wise it
leaves a little something to be desired. There isn’t even a large
flashy title at the top saying “Election Central” to draw readers in.

However,
in the spirit of rabble-rousing, the site is more interactive than some
other election sites. Anyone can sign up and post comments on the site.
Although it was just recently launched, discussion and debate have
already begun in full force.

The second new blog that will be important to watch in the coming weeks is The Hook, the Tyee’s new politics “superblog,” a term Tyee editors  explain in the launch announcement:
“Why do we call The Hook a ‘superblog’? Because, unlike most blogs
which give you the work of one or two people, The Hook’ will publish
quick, timely reports and analysis by seasoned Tyee journalists and a wide network of contributors.” 

The
blog covers political issues that run the gambit, from education, to
housing, environment and the media. But for the first six weeks
investigative reporter and National Magazine Award winner Monte Paulsen
will lead the Election Central section of the site, as he did in 2005.

The
blog focuses mainly on BC politics. There is a section devoted to 2010
Olympics and one to federal politics. The blog is easy to navigate with
links for municipal, BC and federal politics to narrow down the search.

In “Uh, Make that a Four-Way Showdown in Van-Centre?” Andrew McLeod points to the Globe’s sloppy reporting of the Vancouver-Centre race. He notes that the Globe
failed to report that Green candidate Adrianne Carr is not far behind
the other three parties and could well be beating out a couple of them.

Neither
site has sections devoted specifically to video or audio coverage of
the elections, but being blogs, they do what blogs do best: provide
analysis and opinion on the important issues of the day.

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