A new take on election coverage: KCUR to begin “Elections 2020: Listening to America” initiative

November 3, 2020. That’s right. The presidential election will be here soon. While this can seem daunting, KCUR has taken on a new initiative to give Kansas City and America a voice.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) gave KCUR A $1.9 million grant to launch the “Elections 2020: Listening to America” project. 

“The Listening to America project will ensure that election coverage is informed by insights from citizens talking about issues that matter to their communities,” said CPB Senior Vice President Kathy Merritt in a press release.

KCUR’s Donna Vestal will be overseeing the initiative.

“I get very passionate and excited about thinking about taking this from beginning to end, and then, having a lasting impact from there,”  Vestal said.

The initiative’s goal is to provide election coverage focused on issues that are of importance to local communities instead of solely focusing on the election horse race. 

Because of this, Vestal challenges those on this project to “Listen, listen, listen. You never know where listening will take you exactly.”

Whether it be within neighborhoods, cities or even the whole country, Vestal said simply listening can help break down the initial barriers of labels.

“I hate to even say conservative or liberal. People come from different backgrounds and different lives that you can’t imagine to understand,” Vestal said.

Aside from breaking down barriers, the initiative is designed to give a fresh look to election coverage nationally by focusing locally. KCUR will have cohort stations across the country, representing all voices from all parts of the United States.

“Elections 2020: Listening to America” is still somewhat of an abstract idea, Vestal explained. However, the heartbeat of it hasn’t changed, and it’s time to hear the voices of the American people.

mwc6w@mail.umkc.edu

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