Site focused on 5th district race launches
A project of Journal Register Company newspapers in Connecticut, including The Register Citizen, the New Haven Register, The Middletown Press and the Litchfield County Times, CT5thDistrict.com uses a new approach to political reportage called The Citizens Agenda, garnering responses from candidates in the issues most important to voters.
Rather than allowing candidates’ public relations to drive the conversation, the intention is to engage the audience to determine the five most important issues.
Reporters will then be assigned to cover the 5th district race on an issue-by-issue basis.
The Citizens Agenda project is part of a partnership between Journal Register Company parent Digital First Media, the American edition of The Guardian and New York University’s Studio 20 journalism graduate school program.
The Guardian will be focusing on the 2012 presidential race, while Journal Register papers in Connecticut will be focusing on the 5th District Congress and U.S. Senate races.
In announcing the program, NYU Professor Jay Rosen and The Guardian’s Amanda Michel wrote, “The alternative to ‘who’s going to win in the game of getting elected?’ is, we think, a ‘citizens agenda’ approach to campaign coverage. It starts with a question: what do voters want the candidates to be discussing as they compete with each other in 2012? If we can get enough people to answer to that question, we’ll have an alternative to election coverage as usual.”
The site also features in-depth profiles of every registered candidate, complete with comprehensive personal and professional biographies, their stances on a variety of issues, their goals, opinions and the those of their supporters, friends and colleagues.
Veteran New Haven Register reporter Mary O’Leary will serve as the site’s fact checker, verifying all the statements candidates make throughout the campaign, like who leads the field in fundraising, and who actually voted to raise taxes.
If you’ve heard a fact you think should be checked, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
To publish — and put into context — all the press releases and issues that aren’t tops on voters’ minds but still important, a list of “horse race” stories, dealing with everything from endorsements to social issues, compiled by reporter Jordan Fenster. Reach him at email@example.com.
Follow the site on Twitter at Twitter.com/5thDistrictCT, and find it on Facebook at Facebook.com/5thDistrictCT.