election night in wood county, ohio

Wood County, Ohio is a swing county in a swing state. Analysts say that Republican candidate Mitt Romney needs to win Ohio to win the presidential election. And to win Ohio, he has to do well in a handful of counties including Wood, just south of Toledo. It has a fairly even mixture of Democratic and Republican voters and yet has picked the winner of the presidential race every time in the past 40 years except once. So that’s where we’re headed on election night, armed with notepads, cameras, laptops and mobile phones. We hope that by bringing a rolling newsroom to this key county, we will draw some viewers to the voter interviews we plan to post on youtube and storify. Stay tuned for details.

Here’s a Wall Street Journal story naming Wood County as one of the five key counties to watch in Ohio.

President Clinton visited Wood County just a few days ago, and was covered by the Wood County Sentinel Tribune. So did the Libertarian Party candidate for president.

What do you think of coverage of this presidential race so far? How has social media impacted the election and changed the way it’s been covered?

Here’s an interesting discussion about social media and this election. It was gathered by storify, the tool we’ll be using on election night.

Here the Washington Post is talking about it’s new way of covering events, by capturing social media in something called The Grid.

Since we focus on coverage of the environment and public health, how do you think those issues have impacted the presidential race? How has coverage of these issues played during the election season — especially during the past couple of weeks?

Here’s a story about Obamacare’s impact on the election from The Grio, a website affiliated with NBC and aimed at African Americans.

This op-ed piece by Nick Kristoff of The New York Times examines climate change as an issue in the race.

For a longer look at the candidates’ positions on climate change, include video of the candidates speaking about the issue, check out this link from the League of Conservation Voters site. But please don’t confuse this with journalism. The League of Conservation Voters is an advocacy group — one that should be consulted by journalists weighing the impact of environmental issues on a campaign.

What are the questions that we should ask voters in Wood County on election night? What kinds of things should we ask them about a connection, if any, between their vote and environmental or public health issues?

The University of Michigan is urging people to “get schooled” about the election by listening to some political science profs talk for a few minutes about issues like race and the election, what might provoke election fraud, and what motivates people to vote the way they do. Does stepping back to look at these kind of questions with an academic perspective change your view on election coverage? If so, how? Does it suggests any additional questions we should be asking in Wood County on election night?


About emiliaaskari

Journalist, teacher, news game designer. Promoting digital literacy and content creation in the public interest.

11 Responses to “election night in wood county, ohio”

  1. In preparation for the upcoming election a reader focuses and researches the topics that interest them most. For me the environment and health are those topics, and while I’ve known whom I am voting for since the summer’s women’s health care discussion, the proposals were still a mystery to me. The popular TV show streaming website http://www.hulu.com has been playing ads that do not direct voters to say yes or no on proposals, but rather reminding them to research and comprehend what each proposal means for our state. I think the media coverage of the presidential race hogs some valuable spots that the proposals could be presented in. I was excited to see the ad on hulu for this very reason.
    During the past couple of weeks the proposal commercials have started, and the frustrating part of these 15-30 second scenes do not explain the proposals well. The one I saw on Monday about proposal 3 really interested me because it calls for more renewable energy, but the ad said nothing about that and talked about the creation of jobs. Here is the ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2wEChkF3Nk. I thought that was a good example for our environmental class because it overlooked the purpose behind creating those jobs was for a greener energy source in Michigan.
    On this note, for our trip to Wood County I thought it would be a good idea to research Ohio’s proposals because after they say who they voted for and why the interview could be dead. Ohio has two Statewide issues on the ballot. Here they are if you are interested in reading about them. http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/LegnAndBallotIssues/BallotBoard.aspx#Issues There aren’t any public health or environmental issues, so perhaps a question to consider after the initial presidential inquiry would be what issues were not on the ballot that you would have wanted to see? Another possible question could be how did the discussion of healthcare and environmental policies in the media influence your decisions today?

  2. I really liked the Washington Post piece about their new way of capturing news stories by using “The Grid.” I think social media has been playing a huge role in this year’s election. I think it’s a great idea and really allows users to access news stories in an innovative way. It’s interesting that articles, tweets, Instagramed photos are all right alongside each other. How will social media as a form of news impact the future of news reporting? Does something like “The Grid” make everyone a reporter?

    I think we should definitely ask voters about issues relating to the environment and public health. It would be interesting to see how these types of topics influence their vote. Many people see the economy as one of the most important issues in this election, but what about other factors? Personally, social issues are really important to me as well. What influences votes more, the economy or social topics? I hope to see the environment become a bigger part of debates and election related events. I’m curious to see if the environment actually influenced any votes. How can social media be used as a way to increase voters’ knowledge about these kinds of issues?

  3. It’s no surprise that social media has played such a crucial role in this election. With everyone’s busy lifestyles, sometimes the only way we can get the news is on Twitter or Facebook. I know that it’s true for me.

    I think the topic of public health is one of the most important in this election due to Obamacare. Conservatives and other opposers of Obamacare see Mitt Romney as a knight in shining armor as the last man to be able to possibly stop Obamacare from becoming a reality. I really hope that there are some people in Ohio that have strong opinions about the ACA, both pros and cons.

    I think the environment has been downplayed in this election. It could have been a much larger issue between the two candidates, since they both have very different views on energy. I think it will be interesting either way the election goes to see their environment policies go into action.

    • I agree with Adam. The environment has gotten little attention from the national media, and I think that Healthcare – other than discussions about Obamacare, also got too little attention. Sustainability and alternative energy didn’t have a place in the debates nor did the health of Americans with Public Heath issues such as childhood diabetes, etc. I would’ve liked to have seen more because I feel like the issues are pressing, but cloaked by policy issues that have no immediate/instant effect on Americans like health issues do.

  4. As mentioned in my response to Kristen’s post, the media coverage of this presidential race has been absolutely crazy and overwhelming to say the least. There is not a television channel that I can turn to or a website I can click on that doesn’t mention at least something about the upcoming election. However, I think that the most fascinating and entertaining coverage of this election actually occurs in social media. Just as the panelists in the Storify article agree, I believe that social media has had a phenomenally important role in evaluating the events proceeding the election, in gauging public reaction to the candidates, and possibly in affecting the outcome– and I think in a much simpler way than people think. Right now, Obama has over 31 million likes on Facebook, over 20 million more than Mitt Romney. Now you might think that these stats are arbitrary but imagine, to an undecided voter, who most likely has a Facebook and uses it on a daily basis (like most young Americans), how much influence these stats could have on the vote tomorrow. Everyone wants to be a part of the majority right?

    So my question is: If something as intangible and small as a ‘like’ can have so much symbolic importance in something of such overwhelming national significance- what’s stopping social media taking over every aspect of our lives? Maybe someday elections will be conducted on Facebook, who knows. Would you be a proponent of this?

  5. I thought the video from the University of Michigan about how voters make decisions was very interesting. It is very true that many people are not well informed about candidates and proposals, which could be problematic when they go to vote. I liked the idea of information “shortcuts” that help people make decisions when they get their ballots. The concept of using “brand names” to vote was a great way to explain people’s decision-making process. I know that when I voted on my absentee ballot a few weeks ago, I wasn’t as informed about certain issues as I would have liked to be. I definitely used the idea of “brand names” to help me vote.

    I think it would be interesting to ask people how they learn about certain proposals and candidates. How does one become an “informed” voter? Do you rely on the Internet, other people, or some alternative source to get information? How does the idea of “brand names” factor into the decision-making processes once the ballot is in front of you?

  6. I too thought that the video from the University of Michigan about how voters make decisions was interesting. However, even though we think that some might seem “less-informed” or might cast the “wrong vote,” there is something to be said about short-cut or brand-name understanding that plays a part in voter confidence.

    Surprisingly though, I feel that social media also contributes to this phenomenon of band-naming or short-cutting. The Grid plays a part in reproducing and reinforcing the major democrat and republican binary and in part creating the brand-names of both.

    I think what’s most interesting is looking at the ways that Journalism too creates brand-name, whether like or un-like the actual brand-names.

  7. The topic of how social media has affected the election really interests me. It is true that without social media I would not have been as exposed to certain quotes of the candidates, or at least I would not have thought some things they said were as significant as people made them seem on social media. I think that MEMES played a large role in this. Posting pictures with smart-aleck remarks is very eye catching and humorous, especially to the younger generation of voters. This reminded me of our Knight News Challenge – Memes have really become a way for people to post their opinions on something related to current events in an attractive and humorous way, which gets people interested who might not have been interested before. Humor plays a large role here. This leads me to think about what role humor can play not only in relation to politics, but in news in general. Is humor a more effective way of gaining people’s interests in a subject? Or does it make people take issues more lightly? How have shows such as the Daily Show and the Colbert Report effected the elections?

  8. I think it’ll be very interesting to ask voters if environmental issues and Obamacare played a role in their decisions at all. The article describing Obamacare as the biggest divide between the candidates was fascinating, and I’m really interested to get feedback on that. It’s been a pretty heated issue, but at the end of the day will it really have an impact?

    Ohio is interesting because it is the middle class workers state — but with agriculture playing such an important role in its economy, I wonder what voters there consider the most important environmental issues, or if they think about them at all. Undoubtedly they were affected by the summer’s drought, so I’d love to find out if climate change is something they’re focused on.

  9. I agree with Adam that environmental issues have been disappointingly absent from conversations during this election. This silence, mainly on climate change, is pretty unacceptable, especially because I consider this to be the single greatest issue facing us. A host of problems, like war, poverty, etc., may stem from out inability to change our ways and work with the planet. At the same time, I think that addressing climate change would improve a variety of problems (that dominated the conversations during this election-like the economy, for example). This election falls at a pivotal point for our future. We’ve already committed the planet to several degrees of warming, and that’s if we quit fossil fuels cold turkey and change immediately. That is obviously not going to happen, but we definitely need to make a transition from business as usual. Since I consider this one of the biggest issues in the election, I’d like to ask the residents how this issue influenced their vote, if at all? What did they think of the relative silence on climate change? I’m also curious if the recent hurricane Sandy influenced their opinion on climate change and how that may or may not have affected their vote?

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