McClatchy has announced the launch of an ambitious initiative to cover the 2020 presidential race differently — by leveraging its local expertise to tell the stories of the voters and communities who will decide this election. Impact2020 will tell a full national story powered by local reporting and offer a standalone politics subscription product for political obsessives who know the election will not be decided inside the Beltway.
The plan to cover the 2020 presidential race was announced today by Kristin Roberts, vice president, news. "McClatchy is better positioned than any single news organization to tell the real story about voter sentiment," said Roberts. "It is a story the polls fail to capture. It is the story that parachute journalists from national media will likely overlook. It is the story of how the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination and the presidency will be won and lost."
A vast network of McClatchy's local political journalists from across the country will produce informed and unique political news and commentary on a variety of platforms including digital, video, podcast and a daily newsletter, launching exactly one year before the presidential election. Reporters and editors in Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, California, Kansas, Missouri and Kentucky will contribute to McClatchy's political reporting effort. Together with the core politics team in McClatchy's Washington Bureau, the team will offer an outside-the-beltway perspective as well as breaking news, delivering exclusives, and providing smarter and faster analyses to help dominate coverage of key states.
The journalists who will produce election-year coverage work for more than a dozen McClatchy local news brands across the country, guided by experienced politics editors such as Jordan Schrader at Raleigh's News & Observer in North Carolina and Amy Chance at The Sacramento Bee. The reporters include Jim Morrill at The Charlotte Observer and Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan, Will Doran and Colin Campbell at the N&O; Anna M. Tinsley, Tessa Weinberg and Bud Kennedy at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Jason Hancock and Jonathan Shorman at The Kansas City Star; Sophia Bollag, Hannah Wiley and Bryan Anderson in California; David Smiley at the Miami Herald in Florida; Daniel Desrocher at the Lexington Herald-Leader; and Maayan Schechter, Avery Wilks and Joe Bustos at The State in South Carolina's capital of Columbia. These reporters will work in collaboration with McClatchy's core Washington-based politics team of Toby Zakaria, McClatchyDC managing editor; Politics Editor Adam Wollner; political correspondents Alex Roarty, Dave Catanese and Emily Cadei; data reporter Ben Wieder; and White House correspondents Francesca Chambers and Michael Wilner. Their work will be complemented by a team of talented opinion writers led by Colleen Nelson, McClatchy's opinion editor based at The Kansas City Star.
One of the key strategies driving McClatchy's coverage will be reporting the campaign through the prism of electability, which represents a radical departure from traditional presidential election reporting. Story selection will focus on key voter groups, among them rural Obama/Trump voters and suburban Romney/Clinton voters, as well as voter groups identified by McClatchy's political team and campaign insiders as critical to a winning coalition. The 2020 coverage plan will dive deeply into candidate policy positions as well as strategies aimed at putting those coalitions together; it's a strategy that will be driven by insight on the ground about voter sentiment rather than polls or the story of the day out of Washington.
"We'll refrain from chasing the daily tweet or the latest poll," said Roberts. "Our commitment is to pursue stories that, during the primary, concentrate on examining the coalition a Democrat might need to defeat President Trump, and during the general election, examine the coalition-building on both sides," said Roberts. "This concentrated effort will help differentiate McClatchy's news reporting over the next 12 months from other media outlets covering the campaigns."
McClatchy will offer a free, daily election-focused newsletter designed for deeply engaged political enthusiasts around the country — people who are just as eager to know how Florida will vote as they are North Carolina, Texas and other increasingly critical states, such as Pennsylvania. The Impact2020 newsletter, which launches today, will feature the best political coverage from McClatchy's reporters along with a curated collection of important stories from other reputable local news sources.
Reflecting McClatchy's commitment to elevating local journalism, the newsletter will regularly identify the most well-sourced local reporters to follow as the primary moves from state to state. In addition, as part of McClatchy's election-year coverage, it has relaunched its weekly politics podcast, "Beyond the Bubble," to take listeners inside the Democratic primary and the race for the White House.