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2017 SPJ Entry - Public Service in Radio Journalism: Gerrymandering in New Hampshire

Sara Plourde
New Hampshire's State Senate districts have undergone considerable shifts over the past few decades. One constant: In the majority of elections, Republicans have enjoyed disproportionately favorable terrain and election outcomes.

Entry note: This submission includes a digital-only story and several multimedia stories and audio features. You can listen to the audio entry below or refer to the file included with the submission.

Links to individual stories follow this summary:

The classic gerrymandered map you learned about in high school civics class is full of oddly-shaped legislative districts, drawn with obvious intent to boost one party.

But in New Hampshire, that’s rarely the case: It’s very hard to see, just by looking at the election maps, which districts might help or hurt a certain party’s chances.So has gerrymandering been a factor in the state’s politics? And if so, how much?

New Hampshire Public Radio crunched 30 years of election data, focusing on the state senate. And that analysis revealed an undeniable gerrymander that, with few exceptions, benefits Republicans.

In this series of stories, NHPR's newsroom used radio and digital storytelling to draw attention to a political issue and series of races with a singular goal in mind: to make our audience care about something most people know very little about.

4.20.16 - Digital Story: As New Hampshire Shifts to a Swing State, Why Do Legislative Lines Still Favor Republicans?

This story features an in-depth analysis of 30 years of election data mined from NHPR's Election database, and includes illustrations, data visualizations, and an interactive map showing the effect of gerrymandering on one key New Hampshire Senate District. 

4.20.16 - Radio and Digital Feature: How a Few Lines on a Map Hold So Much Power in N.H. Politics

Reporter Natasha Haverty talks to the architect of New Hampshire Republicans' redistricting plan, and digs into the history of how gerrymandering has shaped politics and policy in the state.

The Exchange: As a companion to our reporting, NHPR's daily talk show focused an episode on the impact of redistricting in New Hampshire

8.11.16 - Digital and Radio Feature: The Most Important Campaign This Year May Be One You've Heard Nothing About

Dan Barrick unpacks the race for New Hampshire's twenty-four state senate seats. With a third of its seats turning over, the race provided a rare opportunity for Democrats to take power. However, redistricting of the state would make that outcome unlikely despite the fact that New Hampshire was expected to go for Democrats at the top of the ticket. So, how should candidates run their campaigns?

10.18.16 - Radio and Digital Feature: In One of New Hampshire's Only Swing Districts, Can a Candidate Be as Complex as the Voters?

Redistricting means there are very few true swing districts in New Hampshire's state senate. As Natasha Haverty reports, the race in District 24 was in many ways a reflection of the forces shaping the state's politics...and so were the candidates on the ballot.

12.07.16 - Digital Follow-Up Feature & Interview: How Much Did the Shape of N.H.'s State Senate Districts Shape the Outcome in 2016?

Digital reporter Casey McDermott analyzes the impact of redistricting in a follow-up story after the 2016 statewide election. Includes a radio two-way and updated data visualizations reflecting the 2016 results.

Listen to the audio submission by clicking the play button below, or refer to the file included with the entry.

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