CPR and other Colorado newsrooms need your help to cover this year’s election

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10min 19sec
Kevin J. Beaty
A newsman casts a ballot, Nov. 6, 2017.

Traditionally, news outlets have covered elections from the top down. 

That is, there are often lots and lots of stories about the men and women running for office — their promises, personas, foibles and gaffes. And that means there’s a lot less on the real engine running beneath each election — you, the voters.

That can leave the people who will eventually have to pull the proverbial lever (or today, bubble in the preferred dot on their mail-in ballot) with little say on the issues and concerns that get the most attention on the campaign trail.

Our new Voter Voices project aims to change that.

Newsrooms across Colorado are teaming up and embarking on an effort to reach out to voters and learn what they want candidates to focus on, the issues they are most concerned with in this election, and how much trust they have — or don’t — in the system itself.

We’ve teamed up with the Colorado News Collaborative, a first-of-its-kind nonprofit dedicated to strengthening local news around the state in order to better serve the people of Colorado. Through COLab, more than thirty newsrooms, of all sizes and from all corners of the state, have come together on this Voter Voices project, to share it with our audiences and better connect with our communities.

CPR has done something like this in past elections, but with this unprecedented collaboration, we hope to reach far more people, in more places around the state, and devote more resources to what you tell us is important.

The organizations participating in Voter Voices are large and small, urban, suburban and rural. Many of us are long standing-competitors, whose reporters compete every day for audience and stories. But at this moment, when the political landscape is as divided as it’s ever been and finding common ground is increasingly rare, all of us are committed to working together to ensure that the concerns of Coloradans, not the talking points of politicians, drive our election coverage.

We’ve come up with a short (we promise!) survey for you to share your views with us. Your answers will help us paint a truer portrait of the state in our election coverage and to tell the stories most useful to helping you make your own decision on the path Colorado should follow. 

Below, you’ll find the survey and we hope you’ll take a few minutes to fill it out. We also hope that if you see the value of this effort, you’ll join us in it, by sharing the survey link with your friends and neighbors, coworkers and social media groups — anyone you think might be interested.

In the coming months, our reporters will also be out in communities around Colorado, talking to people on the street and at events, to gain an even wider perspective and to ensure that we are hearing from Coloradans of all stripes.

While our survey is not a scientific one, we will work hard to capture a sample that’s as representative of the population as possible. And we intend to show our work: When we’re finished we’ll share anonymous demographic data with you about the kinds of people who took our survey and what we learned from them. 

And beyond just reporting on the results of the survey itself, you will also encounter its results in more subtle and powerful ways through the election season and beyond — with more stories about the issues you tell us are most important.

Our ultimate goal is to make election coverage more meaningful, more relevant and more personal for everyone in Colorado — and we hope you’ll help us do it.