The Final Push: Staring Down the Barrel of the Midterm Elections

Finally! It’s less than 90 hours until this long national nightmare of a mid-term election comes to hideous close. We can’t wait for the relative calm (maybe?) of Nov. 3, when everyone sleeps for a full day before gettin’ wound up for 2012.

Until then, we’ve got lots to do:

1) “Arkansas Week,” 8 p.m. tonight. I join KUAR-FM, 89.1’s Kelly MacNeil, the University of Arkansas’ Hoyt Purvis and host Steve Barnes for a final assessment of the state’s Congressional and constitutional officer races, such as they are. Remember that big exciting Senate race? Not so exciting heading into the final weekend. We look to the 1st District for any final fireworks. Also: Swepco’s 0-3 in court rulings. Check your local AETN station tonight or watch it online here.

2) “Today’s THV This Morning,” election day. Last week, I appeared on the noon show each day for a quick, final summary of all the Congressional races. On Tuesday’s “Morning” show, I’ll be live throughout the morning with some last-minute notes and maybe a guest or two.

3) Midterm Election Watch Party, the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock. I’ll be on a panel with a couple of other yahoos to give some final impressions of this year’s campaigns. We’ll also take questions from the audience and enjoy a warm bowl of bean soup before the returns start, er, returning. Fun!

4) Election Night Returns on Today’s THV and ArkansasBusiness.com. Pop up some popcorn, grab a Coke and settle in for a long night. You’ll be on the couch, we’ll be in at the parties, on the phone, online and in studio delivering the latest election night news as it happens. Arkansas Business Publisher Jeff Hankins will analyze the county-by-county returns live on Today’s THV and THV2.com, and I’ll be manning coverage for ArkansasBusiness.com.

5) The Morning After. Hankins and I will be on “Today’s THV This Morning” and “Today’s THV at Noon” to go over the results and, maybe, What It All Means.

And if this year’s elections weren’t scary enough: Happy Halloween!

Rolling Stone, the McChrystal Story and the Web

Rolling Stone

The McChrystal piece, as it finally appeared on RS' Web site.

For the first time in maybe a generation, Rolling Stone has published a series of relevant, well-reported news stories and gripping analysis pieces. Matt Taibbi’s searing series on the Wall Street bailout and Goldman Sachs comes to mind, as well as Tim Dickinson’s recent report on the Obama administration and the BP oil spill.

And of course the latest is Michael Hastings’ profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, which is focusing new (and necessary) attention on the war in Afghanistan and might very well cost the general his job. (We’ll know the outcome of that storyline later today. Now we know: McChrystal out, Petraeus in.)

Too bad RS doesn’t know how to handle all this newfound relevance on the Web!

As I noted on the comments board today at Blake’s Think Tank:

The bigger story here? Rolling Stone, relevant again! The latest in a string of stories — including Matt Taibbi’s series on Wall Street and Goldman Sachs — that has made real waves.

Interestingly, RS appeared unprepared for the type of attention the story would generate. The feature wasn’t on its Web site until today (or maybe late yesterday), and only after Politico posted a PDF of the spread, which has yet to hit newsstands. (Politico eventually took it down after RS complained.)

That’s right: When the “story about the story” broke early Tuesday morning, you couldn’t find the RS piece on its Web site. In fact, most people read about it first in accounts by The Washington Post (linked to by Drudge) or — amazingly — in a PDF of the RS spread hosted and tweeted by Politico.

Like many legacy media companies, Jann Wenner’s Rolling Stone has had an awkward go of it in the transition to digital. Primarily a music magazine, Rolling Stone’s Web site hasn’t kept up with how music has flourished online — sites like Pitchfork, Idolator, Stereogum and dozens of others have become the go-to destinations for music news, reviews and downloads. The latest iteration of its Web site, RollingStone.com, doesn’t get it much closer.

And this week, RS and its staff missed a huge opportunity to capitalize on the buzz its editors should have known the McChrystal piece would generate. By the time RS finally posted the story to its site late yesterday, most people had likely read the Politico PDF or, worse, felt they had gotten enough about it in the countless summaries and news reports.

And now that the story is posted, the press and readers have moved on to the next part of the narrative: McChrystal’s meeting with Obama and his fate as general. Will RS follow up on what its story hath wrought? They say they will. But they haven’t yet. Clock’s ticking!

Meanwhile, writer Michael Hastings has been making the media rounds, answer all kinds of questions about the story — how he reported it, the access he had, what he thinks about its reception. Why hasn’t Rolling Stone done this? Why haven’t they owned all parts of this story?

As Talking Points Memo notes, Rolling Stone squandered a huge opportunity with this story. Hopefully its editors learn from their mistakes, and we’ll refrain from using the “gathers no moss” cliché.

More

Michael Calderone, now writing for Yahoo!, has an assessment of RS and the news cycle here.

The Nieman Journalism Lab on how Rolling Stone’s late start on its own story cost it comments, reader interaction. (Thanks Emily!)

This Week in Arkansas Business: Education Department to Seek More Scholarship Money

This week in Arkansas Business:

At the rate Arkansas is awarding college scholarships, money in the Arkansas Department of Higher Education’s reserve fund will run out by 2013. So director Jim Purcell says he’ll ask the Legislature this January to provide more money for scholarships or allow the department to cut the number awarded.

Meanwhile, the DHE is investigating how schools waive out-of-state tuition for certain students.

The latest list of the state’s top colleges and universities shows tuition up at most Arkansas schools.

The Log Cabin Democrat in Conway lays off two staffers, leaving a newsroom of six, in the aftermath of parent company Morris Publishing Group’s emergence from bankruptcy.

Go Red Wolves! This Arkansas State University graduate is now a VP at Verizon.

We’re Live Right Now on THV2.com With #ARElection Results

(UPDATE: We’ve taken the live video down now that our coverage has ended. Thanks for watching!)

Click PLAY above to watch us now live on THV2.com. Jeff Hankins and I provide commentary and analysis with the THV news team as the numbers come in.

Follow us both on Twitter: @JeffHankins | @LT (See LT feed at the top of the RH rail of this site.)

Predictions: Jeff Hankins | Lance Turner

More Coverage

ArkansasBusiness.com – The latest numbers and analysis, along with breaking election news from the Associated Press. (News links also in the top LH rail of this site.)

InArkansas.com Mobile – Mobile users click here to get latest ArkansasBusiness.com news headlines in an iPhone-, Blackeberry-friendly format.

ARElections.org – Get the latest numbers from the source, as they come in.

Glass House Arkansas – A list of candidate watch parties and news sources.

Join Jeff Hankins and Me on Today’s THV Tuesday Night for Local Election Coverage

Arkansas Business Publisher Jeff Hankins and I will be on Today’s THV starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, part of the CBS affiliate’s local election coverage.

You can catch nonstop coverage starting at 7 p.m. on THV’s second digital channel, THV2. The affiliate will also be cutting into networking programming throughout the night — but not interrupting your favorite CBS shows, we’re told. And of course, there will be coverage at 10 p.m. during the regular nightly newscast.

You’ll be able to watch online. And Jeff and I will tweeting and updating ArkansasBusiness.com with analysis and news throughout the night.

We’re on Twitter at:

@JeffHankins

@LT

Hankins will be offering his analysis of the returns as they come in after polls close at 7 p.m., and I’ll be monitoring the online buzz and offering additional commentary. And THV reporters will be fanned out across the state for reaction at crucial watch parties. It looks to be one for the books on Tuesday night, and we’re excited to be a part of it.

Making Online News Work in Small-town Arkansas

It’s happening. Someone people are doing it. We’ve noted the Fayetteville Flyer, Ozarks Unbound, the CityWire and others. And this week, Arkansas Business media writer Sam Eifling checks in with two other online-only news sites: the MagnoliaReporter.com and MonticelloLive.com,

which has received 1.7 million page views during the past year. Its growth tickles Joe Burgess, who has owned and run the site since October 2007.

After three years on MonticelloLive.com, Burgess is convinced his style of coverage is sustainable, and here to remain as a competitor to the local paper (the Advance Monticellonian, in this case). “Convenience stores, instant coffee and faster information,” he says. “It’s all the same concept.

Right now, they’re small operations. But they’ve got the right idea: covering intensely local news intensely, offering readers news they can’t find anywhere else, even in the competing print paper.

Also

TolbertReport.com teams with InsideSaline.com and MySaline.com to present a day of debates by candidates in local elections.

Let’s Go to an #ARSEN Debate, Shall We?

We’re ending the dry spell here in the most stupendous way possible — by checking out tonight’s big Democratic debate for U.S. Senate!

Incumbent Blanche Lincoln faces challengers Lt. Gov. Bill Halter and political newbie D.C. Morrison in an hour-long debate hosted by Allbritton-owned KATV-TV, Channel 7, and Politico.com.

You can watch the whole thing live on KATV.com and Politico.com, or attempt to dodge the breaking weather news cut-ins on KATV’s ol’ fashioned broadcast television channel. C-SPAN is also broadcasting the debate.

It all begins at 7 p.m. Meanwhile, I’ll give a quick preview of what to watch for during KTHV-TV, Channel 11’s 6:30 p.m. newscast.

During the debate, watch the Twitters! I’ll be on @LT.