Depending on where you live, the 2018 mid-term elections kick off in 37 days. Some local newsrooms around the nation have been preparing for weeks or even months since the primaries, but some stations have not even started.
It is possible to still win your election coverage.
Moderator Triston Sanders strategy and research consultant for Magid has years in the news business and was joined by NBC10 news reporter Lauren Mayk and KMOV-St. Louis news director Scoot Diener.
Here are the 5 key points to win your election coverage.
- Connection – Viewers are looking for a connection from their community.
- Direct Benefit – What is the direct benefit?
- Understanding – They are reading the tweet but not going beyond the tweet.
A lot of consumers are not going beyond a headline. Why should they care about this issue?
- Sense of community – Help consumers understand; How does this person run for office effect their community?
- Interest – How interesting is the story we are putting together.
“You need these five details to bring VALUE to your coverage.” – Triston Sanders
1.Create a “fact check” element for your coverage. Fact checks everything. Campaigns and candidates are running ads and posting materials on their pages. Double check their statements too and keep a running list.
2. Approach a different “issue” every day. Think 30 Issues in 30 Days. Explain why an election could impact the issue either way. https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/1-on-1-With-Scott-Wagner_Philadelphia-493650641.htm
3.Partner with local chamber of commerce or League of Women Voters to launch an all-day voter phone bank on Election Day. Provide caller assistance in English and Spanish.
4. Think like a candidate, and go door to door or hold a town hall/ roundtable. Find out what issues your viewers are actually concerned about, rather than just polled about. Then ask the candidates for their take or engage them in the process.
5. Help get people registered to vote. Hold a voter registration drive, publicize it, and have your talent or notable staff there to engage.
6. Fight back on “Fake News.” Be transparent about where you are getting your information, sources, and how your present those facts. Reinforce that you are telling all sides to the story. If you have any conflicts of interest, declare them overtly.
7. Create an election day guide for voters on your website/app. Share what resources voters can use to educate themselves. Walk them through it and how to look up the information they need. Think websites tools, social media pages for candidates/issues, etc. This could be a great digital or web element to drive viewership later.