Dense election coverage

A couple of people have asked me to comment on the Canadian election last week. Although I was up to date with the limited reporting in The Economist, the two to six weeks of latency in my Maclean’s subscription meant I never really connected with the current situation—I was already rather fed up with the random delays, and am switching to The Walrus as an experiment. In any case, I’ve been in the USA for over thirteen years now; my perceptions of Canada are, politely, distorted by nostalgia.

I did get to admire the CBC election night coverage. Check out the density of this snapshot of reporting from a British Columbia riding:

CBC TV election layout (via CSPAN)
That’s four distinct presentation areas: (1) riding result, (2) national seat summary, (3) provincial changes, and (4) a message area:
CBC screen breakout
Although there isn’t one in the snapshot above, area (4)’s text messages would sweep in, and were mapped on to a curve parallel to the lower side of the elliptical ring.

The screen is reporting 22 numbers—more when more parties or independent candidates were standing—which seems pretty high for a television graphic (plus the party associations, candidate and riding names, and the riding’s location in the country). The beige field is a good neutral background for the presentation of the range of colours needed to handle the multiple parties participating.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of the confusing artwork behind Peter Mansbridge and his panel, which lacked the elegance of the reporting screen. (The panel’s banter wasn’t that entertaining, but I get the impression Senator Segal is quite an operator.)