Magazine article The Masthead

How Well Did We Perform?

Magazine article The Masthead

How Well Did We Perform?

Article excerpt

In the days before this issue of The Masthead went to press, I relived the labyrinthine presidential election.

Among the most intriguing tasks was reading many of the hundreds of editorials from 23 newspapers that are archived on a Web site at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. For the good and the bad, the Miami U site offers a barometer of how well we editorialists covered this election.

Students at Miami thought they were signing up for a course in editorial writing taught by associate professor Hugh Morgan. But they ended up living a course in political history.

From September through mid-December, students downloaded editorials on the presidential campaign and post-election, and critiqued them. Their observations -- and Morgan's -- are summarized in this issue. But it is well worth a visit to the Web site to read the editorials and the students' critiques in depth (www.muohio.edu/editorials).

Unfortunately, some major publications, such as The New York Times, are not among the student-critiqued papers. But there are enough large and medium-sized papers to use the site as a measure of editorial effectiveness during the historic post-election days.

I found a few gems among the professional editorials on the site. There was also some delightful writing and original thinking.

As could be expected, at least three papers wrote editorials for November 8 declaring George W. Bush was president. One was able to get in a rewrite before the final editions went out, but it is unclear how the others later handled their miscalculations. …

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