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2019 Murrow Awards Entry, Continuing Coverage: N.H.'s 2018 Midterm Elections

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Taylor Quimby/NHPR
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NHPR reporter Lauren Chooljian updates listeners from a candidate headquarters on Election Night, 2018.

With key races up for grabs, up and down the ballot, New Hampshire’s 2018 midterm elections presented plenty of reporting opportunities and challenges. NHPR sought to cover these races comprehensively but also with a freshness and urgency that would capture the attention of listeners who might otherwise feel disconnected from the current political mood.  

We focused on policy differences between the candidates, and hosted live forums where listeners could suggest questions for those seeking office. We tracked the candidates to campaign stops across the state, and picked apart their promises and boasts. Our reporters sought out stories that captured the way the national political conversation was shaping the local debate.

But we also made sure to focus our reporting, first and foremost, on local New Hampshire concerns. We did this, in large part, by purposely orienting our coverage towards the voter’s perspective. We sought out stories far from the campaign trail, in settings where political questions were being discussed in personal terms, rather than partisan ones. Our starting point, in assessing every coverage idea, was asking how this particular story would better inform voters about the choices facing them in the ballot box on Election Day.

Our podcast Civics 101 embarked on a midterm-themed series that explained the basics of campaigning, elections and the federal government to our listeners, hoping to lift the political conversation above the day to day of the campaign trail. When we reported a story about the difficulties Spanish-speaking residents face in gathering election information, we decided to do a parallel Spanish version of that piece, and also translate our voters’ guide on our website.

We also brought investigative and data-reporting energy to the campaign beat. We dug through months of lobbying reports to track the influence of corporate donations on state Senate candidates. Using Right-to-Know requests, we debunked claims of voter fraud that were regularly repeated by candidates.

We believe our coverage of New Hampshire’s 2018 midterm elections is a strong collection of political reporting. But it’s also a record of what New Hampshire residents were talking about, with each other, in 2018, and how they sought to determine the direction in which they wanted to move their state. We are proud to submit this body of work for the 2019 Edward R. Murrow Award for Continuing Coverage.

Highlights from our coverage of New Hampshire's 2018 midterm elections:

Other Highlights of our 2018 Midterm Coverage:

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