by: Adreana Young
Philadelphia news outlets and Temple University are focusing on innovative reporting to cover this year’s mayoral candidate race. “The Next Mayor,” is a collaboration between local newspapers, media and Temple University students meant to produce “higher-quality, issues-focused coverage of the mayoral campaign,” said David Boardman, dean of Temple University’s School of Media and Communication.
The joint effort between The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Philly.com, WHYY, Newsworks and 900-AM WURD, as well as civic groups Committee of Seventy, Young Involved Philadelphia, and Temple University’s SMC gives Philadelphia media a broader, yet more focused way of covering all aspects of the race.
“The Next Mayor” is funded by a grant for $350,000 from the Wyncote Foundation. Boardman said the idea for this collective coverage came from the Wyncote Foundation who wanted to encourage that higher-quality of reporting.
“Either of the partners has access to and connections with different constituencies of the city. Together, we will provide a more complete picture of voter concerns and will amplify their voices,” Boardman said. “There also is a joint commitment from the partners to elevate the coverage above the typical horse-race paradigm and to focus more closely on the essential issues faced by this city.”
Not only will this team effort help readers gain better insight into their mayoral race, but the students at Temple University’s SMC will be able to assist in the reporting by “owning certain sectors of coverage, particularly reporting on neighborhoods that are often overlooked by the mainstream press and on the views of younger voters,” said Boardman.
Covering underreported areas in Philadelphia has been one mission of the SMC; this project will help the college achieve that goal. Student’s work will appear on Philly.com alongside professional journalists’ work.
With so much emphasis on headline clicks, social media followers, and exclusives “The Next Mayor” shifts that emphasis on to team effort and more well-rounded news for an inventive way to inform the residents of Philadelphia on what Boardman says is the most fundamental responsibility of the press: informing the electorate.
“There is a fundamental shift occurring in journalism around the country and around the world these days, with most of us recognizing that in an era when resources are so limited, there is so much power in collaboration,” he said. “And it’s not just a matter of numbers; it’s also a function of perspective and skill set. It’s the future, to be sure.”