The missing stories of the 2016 election

The full story of the 2016 election in Northeast Ohio is not being told by our mainstream media, hit by staff and budget cuts that left them unable to cover many local races in this region. The result has been an almost exclusive focus on the presidential race, with a bit about the U.S. senate candidates here in Ohio and almost nothing detailing the qualifications, issues and goals of the many local candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, Ohio General Assembly (Senate and House), State Board of Education and Cuyahoga County Council.

At John Carroll University, our students were frustrated as they looked for information about local candidates and found it in short supply. Many of them are first-time voters, anxious to understand both the process and the people involved. So we decided to make it our mission to provide as much coverage as we could manage of the local side of this election in our region.

Our journalistic journey actually began this summer, when the Republican National Convention took place in Cleveland. A summer course in political communication, taught jointly by myself and Political Science Professor Colin Swearingen, included five journalism students who wrote feature stories about interesting issues and events going on around the convention. One story focused on media coverage of the election. Those stories open our publication, Election Reflections.

Next comes the work of two journalism classes — 42 students in all—who spent September and October doing interviews, attending candidate forums and writing about candidates and local campaigns. They have learned about a wide range of races, for the presidency, the U.S. Congress, the Ohio General Assemby on down to the local representative on County Council. Several chose to write about major issues in this election, rather than candidates. Over the next couple of weeks, we will post these stories as they are completed. We hope they will provide Northeast Ohio voters with information they need to make the best possible choices on Nov. 8.