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