ONA Weekly #334: Innovations In Election Coverage

By on November 11, 2020

Innovations in election coverage

This was an election year like no other in the U.S., prompting innovations in media coverage all over the country. We asked: What was one new thing you tried this year? Explore examples below, as well as some interesting ideas we spotted ourselves:

  • Paul Murray worked on Bloomberg’s snail charts, which visualized the overall state of votes counted and who was ahead, in a compact form.
  • Nyssa Kruse at The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette promoted a text help line for readers to reach out about voting issues or questions. 
  • Ellen Acconcia at the Carolina Public Press helped circulate a series of short explainers leading up to the election, videos and other resources in Spanish, and audio from actual voters talking about their (good and bad) early and absentee voting experiences on their podcast.
  • John Duchneskie at The Philadelphia Inquirer created a map breakdown of the presidential election by precinct.
  • WHYY and Billy Penn reporter Max M. Marin shared a tour of Philadelphia’s ballot-counting machines.
  • Katherine Nagasawa worked on WBEZ and City Bureau’s Field Guides to Local Government in Chicago, informed by hundreds of Chicagoans’ responses to the question: “What do you want your local elected officials to be talking about?”
  • Local reporters from eight different states joined VoteBeat, a pop-up nonprofit newsroom created by Chalkbeat to cover voting and election administration (plus, their stories are available to republish for free). 

Sign up to become an ONA Local organizer

ONA Local organizers help journalists around the world connect with peers in their region, access training and move forward in their careers. As an ONA Local organizer, you’ll receive leadership training specifically designed for local news leaders and focused on skills that will help you lead innovation in your community and in your newsroom. You’ll also make new contacts in your local journalism industry and have an opportunity to shine in front of the entire ONA community. Learn more and sign up by Nov. 20.

2021-22 ONA Board of Directors election results

While many of you were focused on the U.S. presidential election you may have missed the results of ONA’s own 2021-22 Board of Directors election. Here are the candidates that will begin their two-year terms on Jan. 1, 2021:

  • Susan Gonzalez, Social Media Strategist at Chalkbeat
  • Anita Zielina, Director of Strategic Initiatives of the Newmark J-School at CUNY
  • Rodney Gibbs, Executive Director, RevLab at The Texas Tribune (incumbent)
  • Niketa Patel, Senior News Partnerships Manager, Twitter (incumbent)
  • Imaeyen Ibanga, Presenter, AJ+ (incumbent)
  • Rubina Madan Fillion, Director of Audience, The New York Times Opinion (incumbent)

The Board will appoint two additional seats before the end of the year. Eight Board members, including one appointed non-voting student representative, are serving out their current two-year terms through 2021.

What you’ll get from the Women’s Leadership Accelerator

The ONA Women’s Leadership Accelerator supercharges the leadership skills of women who are pushing innovation in digital journalism. Participants receive: 

  • A week of intensive virtual training March 22-27, 2021, featuring candid discussions and one-on-one mentoring from industry leaders
  • A year of practical, targeted guidance and personal coaching on individual challenges, plus multiple online workshops
  • Free registration to ONA21
  • The opportunity to be a part of a cohort of peers to serve as a strong career-long support system

The deadline to apply is Nov. 30, tell a friend or colleague who needs to know.

Upcoming events

ONA Local groups regularly host events for digital journalists all over the world. Find a group near you or learn how to start a new one. Note: All ONA Local events are currently happening online, and open to all regardless of where you’re located.

Career opportunities

ONA’s Career Center is an excellent resource for jobs, fellowships and internships in digital journalism. Recent postings include:

On our radar