To combat confusion and concern around voting in the 2020 election, The E.W. Scripps Co. is launching editorial and promotional initiatives across its 42 local markets as well as its national media businesses. These initiatives include voter resource pages that offer registration deadlines, polling locations and how to submit mail-in ballots.
In Scripps’ headquarters of Cincinnati, Scripps-owned TV station WCPO is partnering with non-profit investigative journalism outfit ProPublica on 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 project by hosting tip lines and linking to Electionland.
Scripps stations also are running multiplatform promotions to encourage viewers to vote, despite the logistical challenges of voting in a pandemic.
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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,” McLaughlin 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 also is producing weekly election stories across Scripps’ platforms, and it launched a voting 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. Scripps’ show, The Race, will continue to look at various issues facing people across the U.S.
Bounce, Katz’ multiplatform network for African Americans, is airing public service announcements focused on “Your Voice, Your Vote” and has launched a website featuring election history, statistics and a checklist for voters. The network also is teaming up with Michelle Obama’s non-profit, nonpartisan organization When We All Vote to help African-American communities get registered and prepared to vote.
“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 Scripps’ Washington Bureau, focuses on 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 around voting.