Broadcasters’ work to educate the electorate this political season
When you hear “political contributions” you probably think of money given to candidates. But broadcasters’ view their political contributions differently—as a way to serve the voters in their communities during an election year by educating them with debates, information and more.
Local broadcasters remain the number-one source of local news, giving stations a key role in increasing civic engagement in the electoral process.
Here are just a few examples of local broadcasters’ efforts to educate and engage voters before the upcoming elections:
- In Hawaii, KHNL-TV and KGMB-TV Honolulu televised a mayoral debate. Candidates debated a variety of issues, and current mayor Peter Carlisle also fielded questions and comments related to his job performance over the past term.
- Voters in Myrtle Beach, S.C., are in a brand-new congressional district in 2012 and have a number of candidates from both political parties to learn about. In June, stations aired debates between the Republican candidates one night and the Democrat candidates another evening. This October, WBTW-TV will air a third debate with the nominees from both parties.
- Of course the biggest election this November is the presidential election. NBC News is partnering with Telemundo to cover the presidential race. “Decision 2012″ will include joint monthly polls, coverage of the campaigns and conventions, and events focused on the role of the Hispanic vote, estimated at 22 million eligible voters. The partnership provides Telemundo access to NBC News’ political content and gives NBC News the benefit of Telemundo’s expertise in the Hispanic community.
And, like all the over-the-air programming broadcasters already offer, all of this election information is provided free to the viewer. Because of broadcasters’ efforts, voters go to the polls more informed about the issues and candidates, which contributes to a stronger democracy.