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Advice to cover political races

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Dusty13, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. Dusty13

    Dusty13 New Member

    I'm delving into covering politics for the first time in my career, assigned to a few state legislative races, etc. I've also dabbled covering some U.S. Congress races as well.

    Because it's still so early, most of what I've covered has been "who is in, who is out" type stories and campaign announcements. I've got a few other ideas for more in-depth stories, but generally, I'm kind of stuck treading water right now.

    I was just curious if there's any staple infomation I should make sure to have (district registration numbers, etc.) as I continue covering the races or if there's any out-of-the-box things I could look into as far as covering politics. I definitely want to work up some profiles as the race shapes up, too.

    Any advice or tips of where to find interesting stories would be greatly appreciated.

  2. cyclingwriter

    cyclingwriter Active Member

    State Legislature races can be fun if you editor gives you some space to write. One story would be to look at the demographics on the districts the candidates are in, looking at the history on incumbents versus challengers (ie. do challengers stand a chance), you likely won't unearth any great funding stories, but make sure to check the files (and have someone explain them to you), make sure to investigate each person's criminal background (most states have a main police/law enforcement agency that will run state databases), on that note, verify everything about the candidate's past (i.e college degree, military service, ex-wives), in the old days, you could follow the candidate around to see who they really are, but likely your eds won't give you that leeway anymore), to a head-to-head/tale of the tape on each candidates, look for potential angles ( ie. if Candidate X gets reelected, will she chair a major committee, and look at voting records.
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