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KCUR's election coverage: 'We have a bias in favor of democracy'

A large room is filled with tables holding cardboard voting booths. People sit at different ones while other people file into the room.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Voters at Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence cast their ballots early Tuesday morning.

KCUR editors discuss their approach to the station's political coverage during the 2022 midterm election.

In the 97 days between the August primaries and Election Day 2022, KCUR has produced stories, events, on-air conversations, podcast segments and voter guides totaling 137 separate election-related points of information.

KCUR director of content C.J. Janovy said she wanted the station to avoid "horse-race" coverage of political campaigns. Instead, reporters covered political stories through a variety of lenses. Among those were a first-time candidate running knowing they had little chance of winning, efforts to reach disengaged voters and the changing role of labor unions.

KCUR launched Your Voice, a focus group formed with participants from throughout the greater Kansas City area. KCUR community engagement editor Laura Ziegler said the group's purpose was "to try and figure out what was important to people on the ground," noting that it was "as much as possible, a reflection of the metro."

Ron Jones, program director for KCUR, pointed out that "more and more, news outlets are turning to community engagement as a way to get authentic and relevant stories."

KCUR journalists worked to connect and engage people on all sides of issues and campaigns this election season. Still, they often found it harder to get candidates to agree to interviews or appear on air for civil conversations. Some of that can be attributed to technology that allows candidates to engage directly with voters.

Content director Janovy said she didn't think candidates would start showing up for more debates. However, she said, "voters, citizens, regular people, do have the power to change this if they begin to demand it."

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
A free press is among our country’s founding principles and most precious resources. As director of content-journalism at KCUR, I want everyone in our part of America to know we see them and we’re listening. I work to make sure the stories we tell and the conversations we convene reflect our complex realities, informing and inspiring all of us to meet the profound challenges of our time. Email me at cj@kcur.org.
I partner with communities to uncover the ignored or misrepresented stories by listening and letting communities help identify and shape a narrative. My work brings new voices, sounds, and an authentic sense of place to our coverage of the Kansas City region. My goal is to tell stories on the radio, online, on social media and through face to face conversations that enhance civic dialogue and provide solutions.
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.
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