KUER’s political reporter and engagement staff created a multimedia project to cover local government so audience members are able to easily access information and empower themselves to participate in the democratic process.
The initiative includes the “45 Days” podcast providing behind-the-scenes analysis of the Utah Legislative session, an accompanying “45 Days” e-newsletter with a more than 50% open rate, and eye-catching infographics on kuer.org during elections that make it easy to compare and contrast political candidates, propositions, and bills.
While the Utah Legislature is in session just 45 days each winter, the newsletter is delivered throughout the year during key times. Also, during the midterm elections, the team collected questions via the Hearken web portal and posed them to the lieutenant governor, who answered them for the podcast and again involved constituents in the process.
The three properties have been read and heard by tens of thousands of people. KUER has hosted two public events with lawmakers. Their interviews were later part of a podcast episode. During the midterm elections, the infographics were KUER’s most impactful content ever with over 40,000 shares. The team won a coveted regional Edward R. Murrow Award for their web content.
These initiatives were created and are carried on by full-time staff. The podcast and newsletter each present an easy way to donate. The sharing of the infographic content has heightened the station’s profile and reputation. Community members regularly say that the podcast is their favorite program on KUER. The team hears from constituents from other parts of the state that they would like their local elections covered more extensively.
Through the project, the team learned that there was a dire need for information about government and elections that is well-organized, easy to read, and highlights the major issues. It helped us solidify the station as a go-to source for local coverage and created an opportunity for cross-departmental collaboration. The team hadn’t anticipated how much work it would be for the reporters to gather all of the information, and learned that they needed more support. Advice for news teams interested in doing something similar is to put branding and credit on every infographic image, as some of the pieces may be shared separate from the project.