The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Provided Critical Funding to Voting Block, a New Jersey Collaborative Reporting Effort
Last year, 25 newsrooms that cover New Jersey joined the collaborative reporting initiative Voting Block. Together, we pioneered a new way to cover elections that brought together newsrooms to use the same engagement framework to inform their reporting. The goal: to spark political dialogue in New Jersey, amplify local priorities from the public for the next governor’s agenda and deepen engagement between communities and newsrooms.
To do this, each Voting Block newsroom chose a neighborhood, convened neighbors for a meal, facilitated a discussion using our “Political Potluck” guide and reported on the gubernatorial election through the lens of these neighborhood conversations.
Coordinated by The Center for Cooperative Media, The Center for Investigative Reporting and New America Media, Voting Block brought together a diverse cohort of media organizations, including WNYC, WHYY, NJ Spotlight, The Record, Route 40, Zaman Amerika and Reporte Hispano, to collectively pilot this reporting method. The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation provided critical funding to support the project.
In the end, Voting Block newsrooms talked with more than 100 neighbors about their political priorities, produced over 70 local stories and together provided statewide coverage of the election as a network.
At a time when news organizations are losing staff at alarming rates and perceived negatively by 43 percent of Americans, collaborative reporting models rooted in engagement, like Voting Block, are a way for newsrooms to help expand their reporting capacity and build stronger relationships with their audiences.
“Voting Block was a great series for NJ Spotlight because it both helped us understand what issues were important to readers and how they were thinking about the election,” NJ Spotlight Editor Lee Keough said.