California residents had to go through one of the longest ballots in recent history to vote on or before November 8, 2016.
Working with our Product team and reporters, I helped produce one of the station’s most comprehensive election guides reaching millions of users. I built on the success of my guide idea from previous elections years, and expanded it’s context, user features and reach through partnerships.
KQED reporters wrote easy to understand, non-partisan summaries of statewide propositions. Those were paired with a live chart, showing who was donating how much money to each side.
Then, through a partnership with MapLight and the California League of Women Voters, users could delve in the more than 800 local ballot measures and races in the Bay Area. Through the MapLight interface, users could go through candidate questionnaires and read KQED stories on each topic. Finally, users could save their choices to print out or check on their mobile phone at the ballot box.
But I wanted more than a comprehensive guide, for years KQED had heard from local users that they wanted local results. For national and state results I worked with the Associated Press to use their API. Then, I reached out to election registrars at the nine Bay Area counties and other local election officials to get live results feeds. For counties that did not have such feeds, we built scrapers, that were checked by a team of interns and producers on election night. Next I worked with our Product Department to build a clear way for users to find and sort the results for more than 800 local races and ballot measures. For the first time, users could find all their election results at KQED. The results were accessed more than 1 million times on election night alone.
Reporters and hosts also used the site for live, on-air coverage, instead of interns calling registrars, writing down the results and running them down the hall to the studio.
On Election night I also led a team of dozens of people, including a re-write desk, field reporters, photographers, copy editors, social media producers, page producers and managed the live results. As the tone of the night began to shift, we quickly and professionally gathered reactions and images. We had a smooth hand-off to the morning crew who dove into analysis. I am also proud that we maintained a balance in our coverage of the presidential election and local issues and races, while quickly pivoting to cover the nights of protest that followed in the Bay Area.