With the 2020 presidential election just months away, WUSF Public Media in Tampa and 90.7 WMFE in Orlando are teaming up to bring in-depth coverage about what is important to Interstate 4 corridor citizens heading toward the voting booth.
As Central Florida and the Tampa Bay region are among the fastest-growing parts of the state, the voters along the I-4 corridor and their opinions about presidential candidates will be in the spotlight in the months leading up to the election.
The I-4 Votes project is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Reporters from both stations will spend 2020 telling the stories of the people living on or near the Interstate 4 corridor – from St. Petersburg to Daytona Beach – as they decide who they want to be president of the United States. In addition to stories on the air and online, the stations will hold town-hall-style events along the I-4 corridor to foster conversations about the issues.
I-4 Votes is one of eight public media networks that are a part of “America Amplified: Election 2020,” an initiative that aims to strengthen collaboration within public media, build trust in local journalism and deepen understanding of America’s needs and aspirations. It’s led by public radio station KCUR 89.3 in Kansas City and supported by a $1.9 million grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
The Orlando and Tampa stations will receive $60,000 to help build coverage and engage with communities, voters and non-voters. Leading the efforts in Orlando are WMFE News Director Matthew Peddie and reporter Abe Aboraya. In Tampa, WUSF News Director Mary Shedden and reporter Steve Newborn will guide the coverage.
I-4 Votes has already produced stories along the corridor, including a profile of impeachment manager U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Orlando and how just a handful of candidates have started their campaigning efforts in Florida less than a month before the primary. Starting in March, the stations will share an overview of the goals of the project as well as feature stories focused on health care and the environment – two top issues residents said were important to them in our 2020 election survey.
“To most of the country, the I-4 corridor is a political bellwether,” WUSF General Manager JoAnn Urofsky said. “Instead of covering the horse race, we’re spending this year listening to residents and telling stories about the issues that matter here when selecting the president of the United States.”
WMFE and WUSF’s journalism will be voter-centric. The emphasis of stories and community engagement activities will focus on what the candidates need to know about the voters, not what the voters need to know about the candidates.
“We will engage deeply with communities to ensure that voters’ voices are heard in our coverage of the issues that matter to them,” WMFE President and CEO Erika Pulley-Hayes said. “We are committed to uncovering stories from the public – stories that aren’t being told by other media outlets.”
Connect with I-4 Votes on Twitter @I4Votes.
About WUSF Public Media:
WUSF Public Media is a comprehensive media organization that provides media services to the community and businesses through public broadcasting and multi-media production services. Licensed to the University of South Florida, WUSF Public Media has been serving the public interest through programming, educational outreach and community partnerships for more than 50 years. Visit wusfnews.org for more information.
Community Communications Inc., DBA WMFE, is a non-profit, member-supported, community-based public broadcasting company that operates 90.7 WMFE-FM, metro Orlando’s primary provider of NPR programming; 90.7-2 Classical; and 89.5 WMFV, public radio for The Villages, Leesburg and The Golden Triangle. Part of the community since 1980, Community Communications focuses on providing quality national and local news and programming. Visit wmfe.org and wmfv.org for more information.
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