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Planning for elections starts early

September 20, 2018

It’s still almost two months from the 2018 general election, but here at the Daily News we’re fully engulfed in pre-election coverage planning.

Earlier this month, for example, I mailed out Daily News election questionnaires to more than 60 candidates involved in contested races in Northeast and North Central Nebraska. They ranged from federal to local races.

My hope is that all of them respond with information about their candidacies so that the Daily News can share that information with readers.

We’ll be publishing — both in print and online — a multi-part series of stories next month on the various contested races.

It’s our way of helping voters to become informed about candidates.

The Daily News will also be offering some endorsements on the Commentary page, too. These are different than news stories in which we share factual information about candidates and their comments.

In contrast, the endorsements are where the Daily News can offer its opinions on candidates or ballot issues. They’re not intended to be telling anyone how to vote. Rather, they’re intended to be food for thought as Northeast and North Central Nebraskans go about making up their own minds on how they will cast their ballots.

The Daily News also will be partnering with Norfolk radio stations WJAG, 106 KIX and Lite Rock 97.5 in sponsoring a candidates forum on Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the Norfolk city council chambers.

At this point, plans are to feature the individuals running for contested seats on the Norfolk City Council and perhaps the contested seats on the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District’s board of directors.

The forum is an excellent way for local and area residents to hear from candidates in person and size them up as someone they might be interested in voting for.

The forum will be broadcast live by the radio stations as well as on the Daily News’ Facebook page. More details on that event will be coming in the near future.

On a related topic, if I were a candidate running for office, I’d give serious consideration to making use of the Daily News — both in print and online — to further my candidacy through some paid political advertising.

Television commercials are common in national races, but study after study shows that a majority of voters get most of their information about candidates from newspapers.

So, if voters are turning to media outlets like the Daily News for candidate information, wouldn’t it make sense to take advantage of that interest and do some advertising, too?

Finally, it won’t be too much longer and we’ll turn our attention here to coverage plans for the night of the election and the morning after — one of the busiest and exciting times in a newsroom.

The vast majority of newsroom staff members are involved — in a variety of ways — with our election coverage.

Our goal, as always, is to provide readers with information that they can rely on.

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