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Here’s what you need to know about the Community Agenda, from WHQR News

The WHQR News team wants to do something different from other media coverage of Wilmington’s city council elections, so we're launching the Community Agenda Election Survey from July 1 to October 1. WHQR News wants to hear your responses to one question: What do you want candidates to talk about as they compete for votes?

Frequently Asked Questions:

How did you come up with the Community Agenda Election Survey? 

The Community Agenda Election Survey is based on the ideas of the Charlotte Observer and the Poynter Institute in 1992. Media critic and New York University professor Jay Rosen proposed the concept again in 2018. It’s since been used by Hearken, an audience engagement company that works with newsrooms, to develop a step-by-step guide to more community-focused reporting. The aim is to allow residents to drive the content of news coverage during an election year, rather than the politicians or reporters.

What will you do with responses? 

Responses to the survey will be used by the WHQR News team to develop the starting point for how we will approach what topics and stories reporters will pursue during the 2023 election cycle. Questions may be asked directly to candidates or could be used in WHQR News hosted debates with candidates.

If respondents include their name and contact information in the survey, a reporter may reach out to learn more about your experiences that drew you to pose your question.

Who is looking at the responses? 

A team of WHQR staff members will review submissions to find trends among community members' responses.

Will community members be able to give feedback on the Community Agenda Election Survey? 

Yes! About halfway through collecting submissions for the online survey, WHQR News will release a few of the top questions and topics people posed. The public will be able to comment on which questions seem on track, as we begin to develop the Community Agenda.

Can I participate if I’m not a U.S. citizen or registered to vote? 

WHQR News wants all community members to participate, no matter their eligibility to vote.

We ask that people 16 years old and up participate, in accordance with interview guidance from the Associated Press. If a parent or guardian has any questions, please feel free to reach out.

If you are unsure of your voter registration status, you can check here. You will also be able to find out whether you vote in a municipal election.

Why are you asking for my gender, age, race, and zip code?

We are tracking demographic details like these so we can get a sense of patterns within the community. Your zip code gives a general idea of your neighborhood or location, so we can see whether certain neighborhoods are experiencing specific problems. We are asking for gender, age, and race to look for similar patterns among the voting population.

These questions are not mandatory, but your responses are helpful for our analysis.

Can I still participate if I don’t live in the City of Wilmington? 

Yes! While we are targeting this year’s Community Agenda to the municipal elections, residents in the broader community can comment. It's helpful for us to see what all residents are thinking about when it comes to priorities for candidates on the campaign trail.

Next year, during the 2024 election, residents from all over the Cape Fear Region will be able to give their responses for a variety of races: we hope to broaden the Community Agenda and allow it to drive our elections coverage for presidential, congressional, and local races.

A section of the survey will ask “Are you a voter in a municipal election this year?” Select No.

Why are you only running this for the city of Wilmington and the city of Whiteville?

We have limited resources and are focusing on competitive races where we do reporting already, or where we have a media partner who is involved in this project. In a future iteration, we may expand to other cities or other races.

Have a different question? Email us at staffnews@whqr.org!