To say this year’s presidential election is like no other is a cliché, admits Lee Horwich, USA Today managing editor for government and politics, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
Horwich, who has covered politics for USA Today since 2004, said he and others at the national newspaper quickly realized there were going to be a lot of candidates and not enough reporters to effectively cover the campaigns. So they decided to leverage the entirety of the Gannett newspaper portfolio—now known as the USA Today Network—to create one of the most comprehensive election coverage strategies in the nation.
It all started last year in Nashville, Tenn. when USA Today Network editors from around the country gathered to talk about what they wanted from their election coverage, how to work together and what they could bring to the table that others could not.
“One of the main things we could bring to it was the thought that we are in those communities and we have reporters who are experts on many of these candidates,” Horwich said.
With 107 newspapers in markets across the country and more than 3,800 journalists, the key to the USA Today Network’s success has been its unique ability to understand each state’s nuances through local papers.
“We have a USA Today reporter based in Texas, who’s been doing stories about Ted Cruz because he reads the local papers and knows the issues that Ted Cruz faces in Texas,” Horwich said. “Now we also supplement that with other reporters who understand what his record is here in Washington. So we can combine all of that coverage into something that we hope offers readers a unique view into the candidacies.”
Complete election coverage can be found within the same vertical on USA Today and all of the USA Today Network papers’ websites that are updated throughout the day.
In addition to covering the national election at a local level, the USA Today Network partnered with Rock the Vote to host millennial-focused events. The Network’s One Nation events are hosted by local reporters featuring a panel of experts. Each event focus on specific issues, such as climate change in Palm Springs, Calif., energy in Des Moines, Iowa or immigration in Phoenix, Ariz. Find out more at onenation.usatoday.com.