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Columbia Missourian

DEAR READER: It is not just another election year for the Missourian

By Tom Warhover
October 26, 2012 | 7:17 p.m. CDT

Dear Reader,

My wife doesn’t like politics. All that finger pointing and dissembling make her angry. She doesn’t like to be angry. So she turns the channel and the page and moves on to more enjoyable things.

It’s sound logic, even if it is depressing for her spouse, a journalist who covered his first election in 1984, edited his first Voters Guide in '92 and had his first birthday serenade by a press corps covering a presidential race in '96. (Yes, I was embarrassed.)

She’ll do her civic duty, though, and won’t pick candidates just by the sounds of their names or the party animals they ride. She knows the necessity of knowledge; she just doesn’t want the information until she needs it. August? No way. September? A nice month for walking. She’ll warm up to the races in October.

Her behavior isn’t unusual.

It’s important to cover state and local campaigns throughout the election season. It’s critical to have that information available to citizens in these final days before Nov. 6.

That’s why the Missourian’s coverage is back heavy, so to speak. In recent days, the newspaper’s pages have been filled with political coverage, and much more is on the way. The coverage will culminate next weekend with the Voters Guide in the print edition, which my wife sees as a handy worksheet to help pull everything together. I do, too.

How is your newspaper doing with campaign coverage? My opinion: So far, it’s been outstanding.

Among my favorites:

The Missourian’s senior city editor and lead political editor, Scott Swafford, also contributes to the POV site. He’s a busy man these days. Swafford is the air traffic controller for politics in the newsroom. Never far from a legal pad filled with his daily to-do list, he keeps the reporters on point, negotiates space with the print editor, edits copy, helps direct the Project Open Vault venture and fields complaints from readers and sources.

One long-time politician complained to Swafford that Missourian reporters were pestering him too much — how many profiles, after all, can you write about a guy?

Just as many as a politician chooses to stand for election.

Swafford also has to humor his executive editor. Take that Voters Guide, for instance. What normally has been one of the last things before an election has become an early September venture for the digital editions. It’s better to give you a little bit then and add as we go, because in the Web world that’s more accessible. Swafford delivered.

There's room for improvement outside Swafford’s control. The organization and design of the website and apps make it easy to find the most recent articles. When I’m making a decision, though, I want the information by district or race.

Something to work on for the next election.