Wednesday, October 22, 2008

PBS & PSU Spotlight 80 Central & Western Pa. Candidates

In the Lehigh Valley, the last place to find a local news story is at PBS-affiliate Channel 39. Its light news program - Tempo - is very much like reading one of the puff blogs. Host Amy Burkett, who reminds me of Harriet Nelson, smiles as she quizzes us about how many women will die from ovarian cancer this year.

WPSU-TV, the PBS affiliate for Central Pennsylvania, takes its role a little more seriously. For the upcoming elections, it has developed a website featuring video, audio and interactive quizzes to help provide easy to use information about all the state and U.S. congressional candidates that fall within Central PA as well as parts of Western PA. It features over 80 candidate profiles from 27 counties. You can view it here.

It is comprehensive and impartial, an informational resource for voters, especially concerning local races that don't normally get much attention in the media. It features video and audio interviews, a questionnaire stating candidate positions on key issues and a blog. It even includes a "My Ballot" feature, in which users can enter their county and township to see which candidates are running within their area.

This is PBS at its best, a real service to the community and one that fills an information gap. Unfortunately, our local PBS affiliate has a long way to go.


Bob Jr. said...

Agreed, LV's PBS is embarrassing. My local cable TV companies all carry Philadelphia PBS as a required supplement. Compare the two station's offerings and see for yourself. But why? I'd guess the local decision-makers would blame lack of money.

Anonymous said...

Back in the Sheldon Siegel era
(1980's), WLVT regularly aired candidate programs. The format was simple- the candidates were lined up at a big table in the studio and they addressed issues that mattered to voters. I believe the sessions were sponsored by the LWV's. They may not have made for compelling viewing, but local folks at least had a chance to compare candidates in a fair setting. I miss these. What can't they be brought back?

Luca Brasi

Bernie OHare 4 said...

WPSU provides a great service to our area. Just today an associate professor of sociology from Penn State Erie was on complaining that the candidates have flat out ignored NW PA. And the ads that are running out there show the lack of knowledge that both candidates have about the area. You'd think with these swing counties becoming more and more important in PA someone would be paying more attention, sadly this isn't the case. WPSU consistently has entertaining and informative programming. If they could fire click and clack they'd be even better!