Scripps Amps Up Voter Information Efforts
With the pandemic introducing new uncertainties around this year’s voting process, the E.W. Scripps Co. is launching a wide-ranging editorial and promotional initiative to arm voters with the information and resources they need to make sure their vote counts this election cycle.
Ranging from local digital voter guides and precinct-by-precinct coverage to in-depth national coverage, Scripps TV stations and national media businesses are producing coverage that breaks down the voting process as it unfolds and encourages voters to be actively engaged in the democratic process.
In 42 markets, Scripps’ local TV stations have built dedicated voter resource pages where their audiences can find the latest on how to vote in their hometowns, including registration deadlines, polling locations and what they’ll need in order to submit a mail-in ballot or vote in person.
In Scripps’ headquarters city of Cincinnati, WCPO is partnering with ProPublica for its national Electionland project. As one of the first TV stations in the country to partner with the nonprofit newsroom, WCPO is investigating issues related to election security and voting concerns. Other Scripps stations have joined the collaborative project to help track voting issues across the country by hosting a tip line.
Scripps stations also are running multiplatform promotions to encourage viewers to vote, despite this year’s logistical challenges of voting in a pandemic. Watch an example from KGTV in San Diego here and from KNXV in Phoenix here.
More Americans are expected to vote by mail this year instead of at their local polling place in an effort to avoid contracting or spreading the coronavirus. However, with pending changes to state law and federal lawsuits over the mail-in voting process, confusion persists about how to vote successfully, said Sean McLaughlin, vice president of news for Scripps’ 60 TV stations.
“With the pandemic changing the way we think about voting, the 2020 general election is shaping up to be one like we’ve never seen before,” he said. “Our local newsrooms, with their familiarity of the communities they serve daily across the country, are best positioned to help voters navigate an incredibly complex voting process this year.
“From the lead up to Election Day — and as the votes are officially counted throughout the week — our local reporters will be on the ground doggedly fact-checking information, holding political campaigns accountable and getting information to the voters so they can be confident their vote counts.”
Scripps’ National Team will produce weekly stories for all platforms, taking an in-depth look at the key issues in this year’s election and dispelling misinformation surrounding the campaigns and the voting process. The National Team also launched an initiative focused on Latino voters. A reporting team will cover Latino communities across the country and highlight issues impacting them, with stories produced in both Spanish and English for all platforms. The award-winning show The Race will continue to examine the issues facing people across the U.S. as the election approaches.
Bounce, the Katz networks’ popular multiplatform network for African Americans, is airing public service announcements focused on “Your Voice, Your Vote” and has launched a website featuring election history, key statistics and a checklist for voters. The network also is teaming up with the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization When We All Vote to help African American communities get registered and prepared to vote through awareness, education and participation, with the goal of engaging eligible voters and volunteers.
“Bounce was founded to serve the African American community with a focus on educating our viewers on issues that matter most to them,” said Bounce General Manager Cheryle Harrison. “The launch of our Your Vote, Your Voice campaign provides actionable information, from registering to volunteering. All voices need to be heard and counted in this upcoming election; this is not the time to be silent.”
Newsy’s 2020 coverage, supported by The Scripps Washington Bureau, focuses on the key issues in play this election, with a commitment to those impacting the lives of everyday citizens. The network’s Vote Smarter 2020 series also aims to answer questions about the most unusual election in modern history. From early voting to counting ballots to staying safe at the polls, Newsy gives viewers the information they need to successfully cast their ballot this year.
Follow all of Scripps voter coverage at #ScrippsVotes2020.
Through its continuing partnership with the News Literacy Project, a nonpartisan national education nonprofit, Scripps is running a public information campaign across its local and national media platforms to raise awareness of election misinformation ahead of the November elections. View the campaign and learn more at newslit.org/election2020.