Viewpoint: Explaining a Bulletin head-scratcherIf you picked up the Woodbury Bulletin last week and scratched your head once you got to the bottom of the front page, you weren’t alone.
By: Mike Longaecker, Woodbury Bulletin
If you picked up the Woodbury Bulletin last week and scratched your head once you got to the bottom of the front page, you weren’t alone.
That’s where readers found the story of Ron Seiford, a Woodbury man who – as the story went – was set to challenge U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann as a Republican.
As it turned out, the story made sense until 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21.
That was when a state judicial panel released new legislative and congressional district lines. Unfortunately for our readers, the paper had gone to press an hour before those lines were announced.
That unfortunate timing set off a series of surprises that ended up making an accurate story – as of the press deadline – inaccurate by the time it hit readers’ hands.
The new redistricting lines mean the 4th District – currently represented by Democratic Congresswoman Betty McCollum of St. Paul – now stretches east to include Woodbury. The old lines left Woodbury in Bachmann’s 6th District, enabling Seiford to run against the GOP incumbent.
Here’s where things get confusing.
Bachmann still lives in McCollum’s new 4th District. So does Seiford. But federal law allows congressional candidates to file for office in any district they’d like.
So after the new lines were released, Bachmann announced she would run in the 6th District. Seiford intends to stay in the 4th District, where he lives.
And with that, Seiford’s would-be Bachmann challenge disappeared into thin air.
In hindsight, the story on Seiford should have been held pending the release of the new lines. It does readers little good to know that the story was accurate at one point. The purpose of a newspaper story is to provide clear, accurate information that does not confuse readers.
Last week’s edition missed the mark. Rest assured we’ll do our best to ensure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.
Some of you might notice a different look on this page. This week’s cartoon is the work of Mike Wilke, who now assumes the title of “resident cartoonist” following the departure of Lance Ward.
Ward leaves us to pursue national-level cartooning efforts. We wish him the best on his endeavors.
Meanwhile, we welcome Wilke’s contributions. A Maplewood resident, Wilke will present his take on Woodbury affairs with his wit and pen.
Wilke is an accomplished cartoonist. Since 1980 his cartoons have appeared in publications including the Star Tribune, the Forest Lake Times and the Country Messenger Newspapers. Welcome aboard, Mike.