In the lead-up to 2020’s high-stakes, polarizing election, it seemed like we were all caught in endless battles over which candidate was displayed on yard signs and bumper stickers. Seeking an alternative to black-and white media reporting, Cortico was working with a number of media outlets on telling a different kind of story.
Reflecting on this work, CEO Parisa Parsa wrote:
The challenge before us, the real battle after this election as we wait for results to be finalized is not to take up arms in the civil war that some are calling for from the fringes. It is to turn to one another to create the voice of the majority of people in this country and rise up to reclaim our connections in conversations that can forge new possibilities. As we build relationships, we build trust, and as we build trust we open up the power of creative problem solving. Together. It’s not flashy, it’s not easily Tweetable, but it’s real. And in the face of the alternatives, conversation and community problem solving is revolutionary. It’s the way we reclaim power, voice and agency in this ongoing experiment of democracy.Read her full piece on Medium
Following are some of the stories produced through conversations hosted on our Local Voices Network (LVN). In these examples, constructive conversations were designed to build (or rebuild) lines of communication between elected officials, community members, journalists, and advocates.
America Amplified, a public reporting initiative that has worked extensively with LVN, has been prominently featured in a Knight Foundation report, 7 Innovative Projects that Supported Local Election Coverage Across the Country. Here are a few examples of their community-driven election analysis:
NPR and America Amplified affiliate WABE reported a number of stories on voter perspectives in Atlanta and Georgia during the presidential election and protracted senate runoff:
Other LVN media partners held listening sessions to identify the concerns and questions of their local audiences. For instance, Kansas City Beacon gave voice to Missouri and Kansas voters’ questions through LVN Highlights in their piece, Everything You Need to Know On Election Day (November 2, 2020) and Capradio worked with LVN to hold listening sessions in Sacramento, CA – resulting in a number of locally-focused reports including:
Community-responsive election reporting acknowledged that whatever the outcome of local or national elections, neighbors will still be neighbors, and local communities will still face myriad challenges that merit cooperation and collective problem-solving.