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Posted at 10:25 AM ET, 11/07/2011

Post e-mail alerts: Tell me something I don’t know?

An e-mail news alert this weekend provided some Twitter fodder from those who wondered whether the news alert offered any, well, news.

Steve Buttry, director of community engagement and social media for Journal-Register Co., took to his blog, The Buttry Diary, on Sunday to question why he received an e-mail news alert at 12:18 a.m. that reported: “A year from 2012 election, U.S. electorate is frustrated.”

Buttry and a few others Twitter users tweeted their own “news alerts,” noting that “kids enjoy Christmas,” “Redskins fans hate the Cowboys” and other obvious observations.

So why the news alert? We asked Jon Cohen, director of polling, to weigh in on why this was an alert-worthy story. Managing Editor Raju Narisetti also weighs in after the jump.

From Jon Cohen, director of polling:

The new Washington Post-ABC News poll is chock full of news, so why did Sunday’s story and the accompanying alerts spotlight a “frustrated electorate,” a characterization that’s been drawing criticism as lacking a certain newsworthiness?
It’s all about the goals of the story, which were to frame the year ahead. Sunday marked exactly one year before Election Day 2012, and our aim was to describe the electorate that awaits the showdown between President Obama and eventual Republican challenger.
Frustrated turns out a particularly apt summary of voters’ mood, even if not a new turn of phrase. On this very point, the poll shows record-high anger directed at Washington and Americans are increasingly fretful about maintaining their standards of living (a.k.a. news).   
There is a lot more in the story and the poll, so I’m happy to answer any other questions about them.

From Managing Editor Raju Narisetti:

We monitor feedback — both actual feedback as well as e-mail open rates, unsubscribe requests — very closely from those who subscribe to our multiple e-mail and text alerts.
While it is a free offering to those who opted to sign up to be alerted, we want to make sure we aren’t being perceived as sending spam. At the end of the day, readers have a choice to unsubscribe and we are acutely aware of the competitive nature of the news business and our responsibility to our readers.

More coverage:

A year from Election 2012, a dark mood awaits Obama and GOP rival

Poll questions and topline results

Do you have questions for Post editors? Submit them to our latest Q&A thread or on Twitter using the hash tag #askthepost.

By Washington Post editors  |  10:25 AM ET, 11/07/2011

Tags:  Q&A

 
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