Voters fill out ballots in Janesville, Wisconsin, on 14 August 2018. Photograph: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Baquet, the New York Times: We have to get out in the country more. We have to talk to more people, which weve started to do.
Sarah Kendzior, St Louis, Missouri-based journalist and author of The View from Flyover Country: Dispatches from the Forgotten America: National media is making the same mistakes as in 2016. The midwest has become the sort of stand-in region for what the national media think of as the forgotten voter. What a lot of these coastal outlets are doing is parachuting in here with the narrative pre-written trying to find people who fit their preconceptions of what people in the midwest are like. Honestly the best way they could fix this problem would be to hire people who actually live in these states.
Al Cross, director of the University of Kentucky Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues: Its not just boots on the ground. You cant have a parachute mentality. You have to have some appreciation of rural sensibility. The best reporters know how to do that.
Sykes, the Bulwark: Im in Wisconsin and I do a lot of work on the coast as well. Ill be on an MSNBC show, and people on the panels start talking about Wisconsin voters as these strange throwback figures, nostalgic for a time when men were able to slap women around. And it was like, Wait, no. First of all, understand that these are people who have their own values, their own communities, and every time you talk about them in this way, you deepen this red, blue divide, this thing. You need to not treat them as these deplorable troglodytes.
Caitlin Byrd, political reporter for the Charleston Post and Courier: Growing up in the south, you see the same descriptors used to talk about places where I was from: backwoods, dirt road, small town, quiet. The same tropes over and over. But this cycle is it seems that more national reporters in particular are realizing that the south is more complicated.
Gitlin, Columbia University: There was a sense after 2016 that we werent listening to enough people in diners in Ohio. That wasnt so much misguided as it was inflated. The average Trump voter has above-average income! News media went from not noticing people whose life chances are impacted by the rustification of the midwest to thinking that they are now the central story. Its an absurd overcompensation.
Kendzior, journalist and author: I meet a lot of people who have some regret about voting for Trump, who are reluctant at times to admit that regret on record. Some are embarrassed about having made this regrettable decision The base is still there, theyre very frenetic But I do think that base is much smaller than the media portrays it.
The need to reach young voters
Only 46% of 18-29 year olds voted in 2016. Was the failure of media to address young peoples interests partly to blame, and if so how to fix it?
Hillary Clinton takes a selfie during a 2016 rally in Des Moines, Iowa. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images
Mukhopadhyay, Teen Vogue: The way the media talks about the youth vote is as social media Snapchat-obsessed young people, who dont care about politics and are not engaged because its above their head and they are so selfish and thats why they dont vote. If I was Gen Z that kind of narrative would turn me off too. When you do have outlets that speak to their interests you notice that they do become engaged.
Swisher, Recode: When I started my podcast, someone said to me: You know, Kara, millennials like snackable content. And I was like: I dont want to write for people who want snacks. Everyone whos substantive wants substance. They said: Millennials are twitchy. They cant focus on anything long. And whats interesting about it is, they were dead wrong.
Mukhopadhyay, Teen Vogue: None of the presidential candidates have a very well-fleshed-out strategy for Gen Z. Nobody really knows how the 18-year-old who is in St Louis who works in a fast-food place, we have no idea what they want. We dont know how theyre going to vote. At Teen Vogue we see it as an opportunity for a generation that has not had somebody actually speak to their needs: climate change, immigration, juvenile justice, student debt.
R ace in the race
Diversity in media both in terms of the internal makeup of news teams and the way those teams cover Trumps stoking of racial fears will be a running theme in 2020.
An attendee at a rally for Kamala Harris in Oakland, California. Photograph: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Errin Haines Whack, national writer on race and ethnicity for the Associated Press: As we head into 2020, I am still on the campaign trail quite frequently the only black woman in a room. Sometimes the only black person. The reality is that two thirds of the people who cover political journalism are white men. Yet we have the most diverse field in the history of Democratic politics in the upc
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