Chesapeake Bay's Independent Newspaper ~ Since 1993

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Volume XVII, Issue 44 ~ October 29 - November 4, 2009

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We the People

Bay Weekly is all about what news means to people — and how people shape news

Whatever typeface (last week’s subject) we set our stories in, they’re mostly about people. The human angle sets Bay Weekly apart. Instead of writing the occasional feature about people, we try to write about what news means to people — and how people shape news.

That’s nothing new. It’s a rule all my writers know and strive for in their stories each week. Still, as I set the line-up for this week’s paper, I thought about how people play in Bay Weekly stories.

When Halloween and Election Day fall in the same week, the issue requires a peculiar line-up of stories. It’s a confluence that comes our way every few years and one that always tempts us to make bad jokes. But we’ve resisted, and we’ve kept our coverage of the two occasions separate.

Election Day is a narrower event this year than in a presidential or even a congressional year. Only Annapolitans will be going to the polls, and odds makers are betting that November 3 will draw a scant few of them — perhaps as few as 9,000. Yet it’s a consequential election, determining who governs the capital city to which all of us gravitate. So it’s one I think we’re required to cover.

With so much already said (often the same few things again and again) in the daily press and electronic news media, including blogs, my job was to come up with something fresh. And not only fresh, but also alluring to you even if you can’t (or won’t) vote in this election.

My solution: Ask the three candidates to speak to me, and you, person to person, in their own voices. It’s a solution I’ve often chosen in election weeks because conversation seems to be the best way to get to know a person. Each new interview is a close encounter reinforcing that conviction. Agree or not, it’s fascinating to understand a person from his (and all three candidates are male) own point of view.

Read your way into our conversations, and I bet you’ll find them just as fascinating — whether or not you vote.

For another look at how electoral news (in this case, I should say olds) touches people, read Sandy Anderson’s story on the St. Leonard Polling house, where Calvert Countians of earlier generations voted and this generation finds ancestors marked on the great voters’ roll.

Our Halloween stories are people-centered, too, recording encounters with the spirit of the season. Lill Caplins, an octogenarian memoirist under the mentorship of Elisavietta Ritchie at Calvert Library, illustrates her love of the holiday below with a reflection on prize-winning impersonation.

And Mark Burns, our droll long-ago intern, enlists his family in another comedy, the capture and disposal of a bat.

You’ll enjoy them all if, like me, you believe news is the chronicle of what our times mean to us. I’m betting my life that’s what you believe.

Sandra Olivetti Martin

editor and publisher


© COPYRIGHT 2009 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

from the Editor