But alas, the paper didn’t do that. How nice it would have been for the AJC to link Shanta Head and other patients at the Good Shepherd Clinic to the proposals it described. Although this time the paper did a bit of its own reporting, that reporting didn’t go far enough or deep enough to explain health care to Georgians. Here’s a case where an anecdotal lede went nowhere; it probably drew readers into the story, but they may have stopped reading after the fourth graph. As professionals, we say we’re for humanizing a story, but here was a case where the Journal-Constitution fell down on the job.

Another thing we say is let’s eliminate the jargon—the wonk talk—that confuse, yes, Joe the Plumber as well as university professors. The paper again ran its bullet point box summarizing the two plans. In the McCain box, it used the words refundable to refer to tax credits, and talked about allowing individuals with multiyear insurance policies costing less than the tax credit to put money into a health savings account. In the Obama section, we read about a government-run health plan and an insurance exchange. Next time, please tell us what these mean.

Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.