By: Charles Bowen
Almanac an Online Tip Sheet For Those Covering Campaigns
To use the Freedom Channel, visit the site at
Political races always start simple – usually with the candidate’s Big
Speech, the well-crafted statement that is so long on quotable phrases
and so short on facts and figures – then become increasingly complex as
the campaign heats up. For journalists, this means that just when they
could use some extra time to wade through the new charges and
countercharges and the candidates’ shifting positions, there is less
and less time for reflection and analysis.
That’s when the old pros on the political beat rely on their reference
materials. And now one of the best in the business can go with you
electronically on the campaign trail.
The Freedom Channel, a nonpartisan resource for providing American
political video-on-demand online, has placed an electronic version of
‘The Almanac of American Politics 2000’ on its Web site. Created by
U.S. News & World Report writer Michael Barone, the almanac offers
profiles of every member of Congress, political histories of every
state and congressional district, political essays and information on
congressional redistricting, campaign finance, congressional committees
and leadership, presidential politics and election cycles.
To use the resource, visit the site at ht
tp://www.freedomchannel.com/almanac/almanac_of_amer_pol.cfm, where the
introductory screen provides various options for delving into the data.
When looking at a state or region, you are shown a political snapshot
that includes its population, race and ethnic origin numbers, household
stats, age breakdowns, education and unemployment figures, number of
registered voters, party affiliations of leadership, and voting
patterns in recent elections. When looking up people, you are shown the
candidate’s or officeholder’s biography, ratings by various
organizations, election results, and campaign-finance reports.
In addition, there are links to breakout data on a variety of subjects.
? The ‘Redistricting’ link lets you peruse information on redistricting
in each state.
? ‘Presidential Politics’ gives the voting patterns and history of each
state in presidential elections.
? ‘Election Cycles’ provides the election years and candidates for
governor and the U.S. Senate in each state.
? ‘Leadership’ and ‘Committees’ links offer hyperlinked lists of names
of the party leaders in the Senate and House.
? ‘Campaign Finance’ has summaries of Federal Election Commission
reports on senators and representatives.
? ‘Demographic Charts’ displays various lists and tables on subjects
such as population, voting age, states with the highest number of
married couples, home ownerships, renting patterns, per capita income,
unemployment, ethnic statistics, and age figures.
Other considerations in using the almanac for your writing and editing:
1. P.L.A. – Politicians Love Abbreviations (and acronyms). And so does
‘The Almanac of American Politics.’ But, unlike some political wonks
you could name, the almanac is willing to let you in on what this
alphabet soup really means. Click the ‘Abbreviations’ link at the
bottom of the introductory screen to browse a list, just right for
keeping your ACUs separated from your ACLUs.
2. For details on the sources of the almanac’s various lists, rankings
and demographics, click the ‘Guide to Usage’ link at the bottom of the
3. From the introductory page, you also can access content from the
regular Freedom Channel, including candidate information, campaign ads,
transcripts, and links. Of particular interest are the various video-