For the latest Last Viner Standing contest, contestants have to write about how they would implement their own Newsvine writing contest. I immediately thought of an idea I had been bouncing around in my head for weeks.
Representatives get a lousy job. I mean, seriously. You're only 1 of 435 representatives. Senators are only 1 out of 100, and they usually have chances to distinguish themselves. If you're a representative, however, you only distinguish yourself if you're a hardliner (like Kucinich or Tancredo) or Speaker of the House (like Pelosi or Gingrich). That doesn't mean that an average representative shouldn't be well respected, however. In fact, I believe that some representatives should be respected more than their counterparts in the Senate. Additionally, many people use their seats in the House as a stepping stone to greater things. John McCain, Gerald Ford, and many more started their career in the lower house. Therefore, I present the first Newsvine "Meet My Representative" contest.
All contests have rules. If created, this one is no exception.
- You may only write about your state representative. No senators, no governors, no state legislators, and definitely no politicians outside of your district. Just your representative to the United States House of Representatives. If you're uncertain as to who your Congressman is, use the house.gov form.
- All articles must include a short biography of the candidate. This does not mean that you can plagiarize from Wikipedia, Answers.com, Britannica, or a website. You can get information from the sites, but it has to be your biography of the representative.
- Interviewing (and then subsequently publishing the interview) with the representative is strongly encouraged.
- The article can be positive, negative, or neutral. If you want to slam your representative for being an elitist Republican or an out-of-touch Democrat, go ahead. If you want to praise your representative for being a taxpayer friendly Republican or a balanced budget Democrat, go ahead.
- Include any relevant data, including key votes, interest group rankings, and notable endorsements. Most of this information is available at Project Vote Smart and OnTheIssues.org.
- Where does your representative stand on the issues? Explain his current stances, backed up by facts. Don't just say, "Rep. X supports X, Y, and Z" if you have no citations for it. Also, try and make the citations as non-partisan as possible. I'd rather take a citation from FactCheck.org than from MoveOn.org or Newsbusters.
- Include any photos you can find of the representative.
- Include a link to the Congressman's website.
- The amounts of votes and commenters (unique commenters, so if one person leaves eight comments, he/she only counts as one commenter) are the basis for scoring, with each vote counting as points and each commenter counting as point.
- All entries must be tagged with
mmr1and be published to a group that I'll set up later.
I have no idea if this will actually happen or not. If I get interest (that means more than like three people), I'll host it. If not, others are perfectly welcome to the idea. The only condition is that you email me and tell me. If the contest does happen (regardless of who hosts it), you can view any updates at the mmr1 tag (Meet My Representative, Season 1).
If it does happen, the deadline will most likely be a month after the contest is announced.
Depending on the response, I may be able to cajole Calvin into finding a few prizes. Obviously, there are only a few folks interested, it won't happen. If I get an overwhelming number of responses, we can see what we can do. I, or some of the commenters, may also put up money, again, depending on the reaction.