NHPR set out to cover the 2016 Primary in a way we had never done before—building out memorable and engaging content on the air, but pairing it with deeper data-rich stories, maps, graphics, photography and interactives online. It was our first truly multi-platform approach to the Primary. We built out a State of Democracy app to put “the Primary in your pocket” and invested in an elections database, giving citizens and journalists unprecedented access to data that previously only existed in physical books at the Secretary of State’s office. We helped connect our audience with the candidates through a series of profiles, “elevator pitch” videos, and data stories that revealed the monetary underpinnings and influence in the campaigns.
Our newsroom focused on telling stories that we were uniquely positioned to do as reporters with a strong understanding of voters and demographics here. Our goal was to make sure NHPR’s online audience woke up the morning after the Primary and understood the results because of our coverage. We also worked to fold in voices of people who weren’t necessarily engaged in the process, from Jason Moon’s profiles of voters’ decision-making process, to Natasha Haverty’s inclusion of catering workers at a Hillary Clinton campaign event in the White Mountains, to photojournalism revealing the real people just outside the camera frames of the national media. We also broke news along the way—Digital Journalist Brian Wallstin reporting on Bernie Sanders’ use of digital ads became one of the most viewed stories on our site, and our voter database reporting gave journalists visiting the state an opportunity to report their own data stories.
We also had fun…Casey McDermott produced a video series of elevator pitches from candidates and Paige Sutherland wrote about the time Lindsey Graham taught her how to use a gun, and included a video to prove it.
And we shared our content widely. Stations across the country picked up our live blog on Primary night and we partnered with PBS NewsHour to share Dan Barrick’s digital stories based on our elections database. NPR picked up numerous pieces from our reporters, used our photographs, and interviewed our Primarily Politics Podcast host Brady Carlson on their own Politics podcast.