Vindy — best source for election needs

The subscriber sent a fairly pointed email — that he was cancelling his Vindy subscription due to our coverage of the Paul Ryan soup-kitchen fiasco, which he called unfair.

I replied quickly with an email that mixed some humor with some reality checking.

I asked if he also notified Channels 21, 27 and 33 that he will be canceling his viewing of the stations as well, because those news programs covered just the same Ryan.

I also sent along a link to the July story of President Obama stopping in Poland and being presented by a guy who was found guilty of stealing company secrets and owed $500,000.

And instead of a cancellation, I have a lunch date.

At least, I think it’s just lunch. It could come with a cancellation, too, I guess. We’ll have to see.

But the Ryan incident highlights a unique election season for us that will only get crazier over the next 16 days.

There are several times in the year when Vindy coverage steps up due to the magnitude of the event at hand, and election season is one such period. And two things are clear for me:

Newspapers have historically been the most important media to the community during this period. The tradition of editorial boards, endorsements and letters to the editor illustrates this. Just Friday night, a national news program highlighted Florida newspapers’ presidential endorsement decisions that day.

And with Government Watch, The Vindy is even more election-focused now. When you consider the increased interest in public spending and salaries, the effort we employ to make them accessible for inspection is extensive. It’s important to note that government agencies do not make them available online for viewing. Go to the Government Watch section on to see the latest in public salaries and spending we’ve procured. We’re specifically targeting all government agencies where there are levies on the ballot.

The timing of all of this is unique in that Channels 27/33 have two TV ads circulating of late touting their newscasts as the best, the most, the quickest, the this, the that, the whatever. One spot is spicier than the other in poking at “the local newspaper.”

If you can, search this headline on their website: “Area school districts hope levies pass.” In that bit, a couple of superintendents take the cameras to the worst parts of the buildings as they echo a plea for more taxpayer money.

Nowhere in the piece does the superintendent offer or are they asked about salary raises over the past three years. Or health care co-pays. Or benefits. All are things that have been points of contention that even during the hoopla of Issue 2 a year ago, many agencies pledged to address.

Such spending is not addressed in “the Valley’s best source for local news.”

But you can find it on, along with much, much more related to your election decisions.

Over the past month, our editorial board has conducted 30- to 60-minute vettings with 30 candidates for various races. These are unscripted, unrehearsed and raw — which is what you want to see of them. We had our first viral burst of the season with Josh Mandel’s mini meltdown with our team. He was not high on my prospects list before; he’s lower even afterward. (FYI — true purple voter here: Bush-Clinton- Clinton-Bush-Kerry-Obama).

Videos from the most contested of these sitdowns are available on

And the last 16 days, we will continue to invest the most of any media in voter information. And we intend to be the best election night destination for you as well, with a couple of special features coming for you.

It’s important, for sure. And it’s unpredictable, too, as shown by the Ryan soup-kitchen event.

If the Mandel video got hot for us, then the Ryan interest exploded.

By week’s end, the totality of the Ryan soup-kitchen coverage was this:

The stories on drew an astounding 50,000 views.

On our Facebook page, 5,379 people saw the post.

There were 263 comments on and 45 on Facebook.

All of those measures are monster for us.

Todd Franko is editor of The Vindicator. He likes emails about stories and our newspaper. Email him at He blogs, too, on

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