April 30, 2022 — Nearly three dozen candidates for governor are vying for their parties’ nomination in the May 17 primaries. A collaborative of Oregon journalists wrote 15 questions to help people get to know these candidates before casting ballots. The surveys can be viewed at agorajournalism.center/oregon-media-collaborative/candidates-for-governor/.
“We're happy to say that more than two-thirds of the three dozen governor candidates filled out our Q&A,” said Andrew DeVigal, director of the Agora Journalism Center at the University of Oregon.
The 2022 Oregon Media Collaboration on the governor’s race stemmed from the wants of voters themselves. In listening sessions earlier this year, Oregonians told the Oregon Capital Chronicle, Rural Development Initiatives and the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication's Agora Journalism Center that they were ready for changes in election coverage.
For one, voters said, the press should stop picking winners and losers by deciding which candidates to cover in-depth. Voters wanted more information on all of the candidates, to decide for themselves which person warranted serious attention.
With nearly three-dozen candidates running in the primaries, that was a tall ask for any one newsroom alone. So, Agora and the Capital Chronicle rallied reporters from across the state to create a comprehensive guide to the candidates. Journalists co-wrote 15 questions delivered to each candidate on the ballot, and Agora created a digital guide that any newsroom across the state could publish.
Over 60 Oregon newsrooms are participating in this collaborative effort, with some electing to publish the survey and some involved in the information gathering.
Journalists from the core group of involved newsrooms came together to draft 15 questions spanning education, environment, housing, crime and the economy. These issues were determined to be the most critical by the collaborative group. Child care and transportation also ranked high, but ultimately did not make our top five issues.
Agora sent the journalist-drafted questions to each of the candidates running for governor in the May 17 primary. Candidates were contacted twice by email and also via their campaign phone numbers. Some candidates did not respond to the Q&A, but may respond post-publication.
Candidate answers were limited to 300 words, and if a candidate exceeded that word length, their reply was trimmed at the end of the sentence closest to 300 words. All of the candidate responses are in their direct words, including grammar and spelling errors.
People can view the surveys at agorajournalism.center/oregon-media-collaborative/candidates-for-governor/ and clicking on each candidate’s “card.” There, they can see how they responded to questions on housing, crime, education, economy and environmental issues.
After the May 17 primary, the 2022 Oregon Media Collaboration will begin to look at further issues upcoming in the November General Election.
Learn more at https://agorajournalism.center/.