Wednesday, November 5, 2008

CNN's Electoral Coverage

I watched CNN a little bit last night and found some good things, bad things and one bizarre thing about the coverage.

The Good:
  • Lots of experts who had some idea of what they were talking about.
  • Actual votes displayed, both online and on TV.
  • Lots of data.
  • A good explanation of the early returns in Virginia and how McCain was not doing as well as Bush in 2004.
The Bad:
  • Lots of useless or redundant data. Many of the items displayed had common explanations. For example, in one state, only conservatives and Republicans favored McCain, while all other demographics favored Obama. The simple explanation is that conservative Republicans are a minority in the state and in all of the demographics shown.
  • Geographic data not displayed geographically. Several data items were by state, but arrayed by strength along the red-blue axis. Maps would have been far more helpful. They could have zoomed in on some state, while showing the neighbors, if desired. The maps would have, at once, conveyed all of the information.
  • No scales on the "bar" graphs. Presumably, longer red bars meant greater percentages for McCain. Likewise, longer blue bars meant greater percentages for Obama. However, I have no idea what those percentages were.
The bizarre:
  • The reporter present in the studio as a "hologram". This really an exercise in gee-whiz virtual technology that produced no benefit over a remote. Don't for one moment think that Wolf Blitzer was speaking to the "hologram". He was looking at a monitor the whole time.
There you have it, folks. Maybe CNN (or a competitor) should hire me to show how to do these things right.

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