With a name like “Daily Citizen,” you should expect coverage of elections and citizen participation is a priority.
As we head into the final three weeks before the Nov. 8 election, I encourage you to keep up with the Springfield Daily Citizen for ongoing reporting of local races for the Missouri House and Senate, as well as the 7th U.S. Congressional District and U.S. Senate races, plus ballot issues, such as the citywide vote on Galloway rezoning or the statewide vote to legalize marijuana.
While we don’t have the resources to provide coverage of statewide races, our focus is on the local elections that hit closest to home for our readers here in Springfield and Greene County.
Jack McGee has been working part-time this summer and fall for the Daily Citizen, primarily to help with election coverage. He kicked off our general election reporting on Oct. 6 with an in-depth look at key issues dividing the candidates for the 7th District U.S. House seat. Later this month, he will give you profiles of the major party candidates, Republican Eric Burlison and Democrat Kristen Radaker Sheafer, in the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Billy Long.
COLUMN CONTINUES BELOW
McGee’s coverage of local races for Missouri House and Senate started this week with an in-depth look at whether Democrats are just engaged in wishful thinking when it comes to a “blue wave” in local state House races. His story — Could women seeking election turn Springfield entirely blue? — has been our most-read news story this week.
We have already published stories on the uncontested state House and Senate races in Greene County, plus in-depth looks at the candidates and issues in:
- District 133 — Democrat Amy Blansit vs. Republican Melanie Stinnett
- District 134 — Incumbent Republican Rep. Alex Riley vs. Democrat Samantha Deaton
And Rance Burger wrote about the only contested race among several Greene County offices on the ballot: Republican incumbent Cheryl Dawson-Spaulding vs. Democrat Melissa Miller for Recorder of Deeds.
Local races are coverage emphasis
Still on the docket in the next three weeks, are stories from McGee and Burger — plus more photos from Shannon Cay Bowers and Jym Wilson — on:
- House District 132: incumbent Democrat Crystal Quade vs. Republican Stephanos Freeman
- House District 135: incumbent Democrat Betsy Fogle vs. Republic AJ Exner
- House District 136: incumbent Republican Craig Fishel vs. Democrat Stephanie Hein
- Senate District 30: incumbent Republican Lincoln Hough vs. Democrat Raymond Lampert
- An in–depth look at the citywide vote on whether to rezone property for a development in the Galloway neighborhood near Sequiota Park in southeast Springfield.
We also will write about local campaigning related to the statewide referendum on legalizing recreational use of marijuana.
And, each Monday, I bring you my Senate Campaign Digest, wrapping up the latest on the race for U.S. Senate between Republican Eric Schmitt and Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine. (In case you missed it, here is a link to my Oct. 1 interview with Busch Valentine — Schmitt’s campaign has so far declined requests for interviews.)
The Daily Citizen will be using selected stories from the nonprofit Missouri Independent, and other sources, to help readers find information on other statewide elections.
Civic engagement is top priority for nonprofit news outlets
The Daily Citizen, and our focus on citizen participation, is illustrative of a national trend.
According to a recent report from the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), nearly three-fourths of the local nonprofit news organizations say that encouraging and inspiring civic engagement is a top priority. That is a key part of our mission at the Daily Citizen, where our goal is “to inform our community and be a catalyst for good.”
Our vision is “to reinvent local news in Metro Springfield by telling the stories of our community, bringing issues to light, encouraging discourse and inspiring citizens to take action.”
Well, largely because a focus on community engagement is one of the gaps left by the persistent reductions made by local for-profit media in staff, coverage and publication schedules.
Researchers have found communities without strong local journalism see lower civic engagement, less efficient government, and less accountability among local leaders. A recent report from the University of North Carolina journalism school concluded: “Our sense of community and our trust in democracy at all levels suffer when journalism is lost or diminished.”
In short, we believe good journalism brings issues to light, but great journalism brings communities together.
As I explained in an early column, a love for local news — particularly, in-depth public affairs journalism — is what brought me back to Springfield.
The number of nonprofits focusing on local news has more than doubled in the past five years. At least 14 launched in 2021, and local news outlets like the Daily Citizen, which is a member of INN, now account for roughly four out of 10 nonprofit news organizations. They are spread across the United States and are present in at least 30 states, plus the District of Columbia.
Most local news nonprofits are smaller than the Daily Citizen, with the median number of employees being four. With the generous support of a broad number of local citizens and businesses (you can see a list here), the Daily Citizen has 11 full-time employees (stay tuned for exciting news soon on this front).
Thanks for reading — and I hope our coverage makes you a more informed voter come Nov. 8.