WHAT IS DEMOCRACY DAY?
Democracy Day is an effort announced in 2022 to draw attention to the crisis facing American democracy, provide the public with the context and information they need, and bring all types of media together to sound the alarm collectively. We want to incentivize media coverage through a nationwide journalism collaborative, one day where print, radio, TV, and digital media on the national and local level can come together to report on the threats to democracy that we’re facing.
WHEN WILL THIS HAPPEN?
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?
The Democracy Day team is actively recruiting newsrooms across the U.S. to be a media partner in the collaborative. Any news organization in the U.S. can participate. If you’re with an organization that doesn’t produce news, you can join to help amplify and promote the effort.
HOW DO I PARTICIPATE?
To participate, you will need to:
— Sign up to be a media partner.
— Agree to the expectations regarding what is required and encouraged for media partners.
— Once you sign up, we will be in touch with more information, including suggested taglines, branding you can use, webinar dates, etc.
MEDIA PARTNER REQUIREMENTS
To participate, media partners will be asked to:
— Produce at least one story or piece of content (but we encourage more!) from the content menu below on Sept. 15, outside of a paywall if you have one.
— Share back links to stories, broadcasts, podcasts, etc., with the Democracy Day team so we can compile them.
— If you’re not with a newsroom, we will ask you to promote Democracy Day to your networks.
By Joe Amditis
For those who are considering joining our ranks as reporting partners, or for anyone seeking a clearer understanding of what we mean by “pro-democracy reporting,” we’ve crafted this comprehensive content menu.
It provides a range of story examples and reporting directions you and your newsroom can explore to engage your audience, promote democratic practices, and contribute to the national conversation on the state of our democracy.
Click the sections below to expand them and learn more.
Voting rights, processes, and what’s working to fight voter suppression
Stories about how voting works, how to vote, changes in voting laws or polling locations, information about how to access absentee ballots, early voting, etc. Stories about efforts to suppress turnout, how communities are responding, and what’s working to increase turnout — especially among those who have been disenfranchised in the past.
Stories that feature who’s making progress and how when it comes to increasing voter turnout, making voting easily accessible to all citizens, ensuring fairness in redistricting, or other ways groups or municipalities are strengthening democracy.
Pre-bunking: Stories about what election boards and states are doing to ensure voting systems remain secure in between elections.
Stories about new citizens being registered to vote, with someone’s story of how they were able to join our democracy, and what their plan is for participating.
Fact-checking articles debunking misinformation about the democratic process.
Articles comparing the U.S. democratic process to other countries, highlighting strengths and areas for improvement.
Explaining the voting rights of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, and examining attempts to restrict those rights.
— Idaho Capital Sun: Some eligible Latino voters in Idaho navigate an unfamiliar space upon Election Day
— Arizona Mirror: Arizona’s disabled community faces unique challenges on their way to the ballot box
— Missouri Independent: Voters, local election officials working to navigate Missouri’s new voting law
— Carolina Public Press: One city two districts, how dividing a community’s vote impacts its political voice
— INewsSource: San Diego’s misinformation panels are done. What did we learn?
— Gothamist: South Asians in Queens say proposed redistricting map ignores them
— NJ.com: N.J. has expanded voting rights. But it still hasn’t taken steps to protect elections from claims of fraud.
— Bolts: Texas Students Are Again Battling the Closure of a Campus Polling Place
— The Center for Public Integrity: Voters in jail face ‘de facto disenfranchisement’
Elections: Centering communities, not candidates
Voter guides and town halls (or reverse townhalls) that center audiences and the issues that are most important to them, instead of politicians.
Solutions stories examining the evidence behind the policies and proposals backed by major candidates versus those supported by the public — are those the same? If not, why?
Stories about how elections are conducted in your city, region, or state, focusing on behind-the-scenes processes and the credibility of those processes.
Explain the process of getting ballot measures and constitutional or charter amendments approved on a municipal, county and or state level.
Explain legislative maneuvers to make it harder to get ballot measures and constitutional amendments approved at the state level.
Candidate profiles through a community or voting rights lens: Who is coming out in strong support or opposition of these candidates, and why? What are their stances on policies related to voting rights, democratic participation, and protection?
Profiles or other humanizing pieces about people working in government or local election offices (to combat vilification).
Follow the money: Who’s funding campaigns and candidates, and what are their interests?
Proactive stories that warn readers about what to expect on election day and related threats.
— Civic Story: Behind the scenes of free and fair elections in New Jersey’s Warren County
— The Hawks’ Herald: What do Rhode Islanders need right now?
— Arizona Luminaria: Education funding 101: An Arizona voter’s guide
— Route 40: Atlantic City’s Bangladeshi Community Votes To Stop Gun Violence, Food Inequity
— Moco360: What’s it like to be an election judge?
— Texas Tribune: Why does Texas have so many elections, and why do so few people vote in them?
— San José Spotlight: Election 2022: How to find the money train in San Jose campaigns
— The 19th: Preserving Democracy and Economy are top issues motivating Americans to vote, 19th News/Survey Monkey poll find
Government + policy
What’s working in your city/county and state? And what’s not working, and who is doing it better?
What policies and mechanisms — if any — exist to allow the public to scrutinize public officials and agencies, or hold government officials accountable beyond the election ballot?
Articles about transition of power in your municipality, city or state: How does it work? What laws cover it? Is it undergirded by tradition? How much preparation does it take, and when does that prep start?
Articles examining how checks and balances work in your municipality, city or state. Explain the branches of government and what it can do on its own, and what they must work together on, and what happens in times of disagreement.
— Bloomfield Info Project: How to get your name on the ballot for Bloomfield mayor and council
— Route 40: Who Is Responsible For What In Atlantic City? And How Can Citizens Have Their Say?
— Bay City News Foundation: California’s open meeting law treads fine line between free speech and disruptive behavior
— San José Spotlight: How San Jose City Hall transitions of power happen
— Indiana Capital Chronicle: Democracy Day: How does a bill become a law?
— Texas Tribune: Comptroller, railroad commissioner, lieutenant governor: What do Texas state officials actually do?
Transparency + trust
Transparency stories that explain your newsroom’s approach to democracy and elections coverage (what you will do and won’t do).
Engaged journalism that democratizes your own newsroom: Take and answer the public’s questions for candidates, about the mechanics of voting, or how journalism relates to democracy.
Stories that explain the impact of your work: How have the mechanisms of reporting in your newsroom changed how local or state governments operate? And what has your journalism done to advance democracy?
Participatory and service journalism: Are there ways for publics to use the same tools journalists use (i.e FOIA, Sunshine Act, etc.) to access the same information journalists access? How?
— Spotlight PA: How Spotlight PA will cover the 2022 Pennsylvania elections
— KLC Journal: How The Journal plans to cover the 2022 elections
— LAist: Our Election Mission Statement: What You Can Expect From Our Coverage
— Shasta Scout: Editorial: We Build Democracy By Telling The Truth About Power, Our Diverse Community and Ourselves
— Oklahoma City Free Press: Free Press reveals the best and worst of your city’s government
— San José Spotlight: Editorial: Our lawsuit could defend Democracy in San Jose — and beyond
— Alaska Public Media: We’re listening to you, Alaska voters
— San Francisco Public Press: Hey, San Francisco: What are your priorities?
— American Press Institute: ‘Not normal’: What local newsrooms can do now to prepare for a series of historic elections
Coverage of civic holidays like National Voter Registration Day and Vote Early Day.
Interactive journalism that gamifies civic engagement, like quizzes on voting or local government in your area, candidate or volunteer opportunity matches, etc.
Articles that explore some of the most well-known constitutional rights, including the First Amendment — its history, notable legal cases, and what is allowed and not allowed, and how violations are punished or not punished.
How to: Explain ways and organizations locals can get involved with related to democracy (E.g., host a ballot party, volunteer with X organization).
Profiles of local democracy-focused nonprofits and their work.
— Carolina Public Press: Quiz yourself: How much do you know about democracy and voting in NC?
— The Current GA: Where’s the meeting? What’s on the agenda?
— Stacker: How to become a poll worker and other ways to encourage voting
— Nebraska News Service: Douglas County woman strengthens democracy through ballot pickup service
— Michigan Advance: Meet the Michigan clerk who breaks down election law to candidates in viral Twitter threads
Attacks on democracy
Stories about threats to democratic processes, rights and institutions at the local, state, and federal level.
Articles about city and state-imposed restrictions on libraries and education
Stories about attempts to limit citizen-driven legislative efforts, such as constitutional amendments
WHAT IF I PLAN TO PUBLISH BEFORE SEPT. 15?
That’s fine, too! We’ve created this submission form so you can share democracy-related content and coverage with us (published or unpublished). We can showcase it here and share it on social media, or we can publish it right here on the Democracy Day website and then share/promote it.
SOUND GOOD? SIGN UP!
📺 WATCH PREVIOUS DEMOCRACY DAY WEBINARS
June 2023: “The Democracy Beat: A look at the future of collaborative journalism,” was co-hosted by The Objective and the Community Info Coop, as part of the U.S. Democracy Day nationwide collaboration on Sept. 15, 2023. Our speakers, Gabe Schneider and Simon Galperin, shared their experiences in defining “democracy” for their organizations, as well as collaborative fundraising strategies and managing a dedicated democracy beat.
This 1-hour virtual session, hosted by the Democracy Day organizing committee, provides an overview of the project and covers items on the Democracy Day content menu, including some great examples for nearly every menu item.
QUESTIONS? NEED MORE INFO? GET IN TOUCH!
💝 Email us for more info about how to financially support Democracy Day.
Still have questions? Contact the Center for Cooperative Media directly by sending an email to [email protected].