Another way to cover the midterm elections

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McClatchy’s Kristin Roberts, a political reporting vet and executive editor of the Washington bureau, wanted to cover 2018 differently. Could local news get it right in a way that national news failed in 2016?

Here’s what McClatchy is up to:

—Survey community influencers every two months on important issues, report it back to the community. Move it to once a week after Labor Day, and create stories and run opinion pieces based on results.

— Pick bellwether districts and report and set larger theme stories there. Partner with OZY to find new audiences for the work, run a newsletter, create monthly podcast segments.

— Do a weekly video doc series on Beto O'Rourke and embed with Texas Senate candidate’s campaign to get a behind-the-scenes feel of politics in this year. The project sounds similar to what VICE News and HBO have done with the campaign of Katie Hill, who is running for Congress from California..

Let us now how you plan to cover 2018 differently. Send an email to dbeard@poynter.org and we’ll be following up over the next few weeks.

Quick hits

THE REVENGE OF THE LAPTOP: It's Apple News for the Mac and more from yesterday's Apple-palooza, via Nieman Lab's Josh Benton.

JOURNALIST SLAIN IN CHICAGO: He called himself "the 'Hood CNN.'" Zachary Stoner, 30, who went by the name Zack TV, was killed in Chicago. He was a popular video blogger covering hip-hop and the realities of life in his community. "We MUST pay attention to this journalist’s murder," tweeted Kathleen Carroll, board chair of the Committee to Protect Journalists. "We don’t know why or who, but we should. Publish stories. Demand answers."

GIT BOUGHT: "Today, we are all in with open source." That’s from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who pledges to keep GitHub independent, developer first and open source after Microsoft bought it for $7.5 billion in stock. Here's an analysis by TechCrunch’s Frederic Lardinois.

NOW IT IS SIX: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has extended its run of spiked editorial cartoons by Rob Rogers, its nationally renowned cartoonist. Rogers says he cannot talk about the decision, and the new editorial director, Keith Burris, would not respond to an inquiry. By the way, here is Rogers’ sixth spiked cartoon:

ONE ACROSS: SEVEN LETTERS TO DESCRIBE THE NYT’S CROSSWORD PROJECT: With more than 400,000 standalone subscribers, each paying about $6.95 a month, the answer appears to be “success.” Poynter’s Kristen Hare has more.

BEYOND PLEDGING NOT TO CREATE A MUSLIM DATABASE: What can tech companies — and ordinary citizens — do to ensure “responsible tech” prevails? By Poynter’s Ren LaForme.

DOING ITS STRETCHES: Behind the aggressive expansion of "The Athletic," which has already snagged some of the best sportswriters from Alden Global Capital's shrunken newspapers in Denver and the Bay Area. Bonus: Stephen Curry is in the lead of this explainer. By Ben Mullin.

UNSETTLING: Is giant commenting service Disqus, which in my past experience was a dream to install and I thought a great solution, amplifying neo-Nazis and white nationalists? You must read this by Charlie Warzel of BuzzFeed News.

What we’re reading

Screenshot

DEVASTATING: The Manhattan DA’s office worked with the “fixers” for Hollywood’s Harvey Weinstein that were trying to denigrate accusers of Weinstein’s decades of sexual abuse, the New York Daily News reports.

‘A TIME TO CREATE, NOT TO DESTROY’: The busboy was 17 and wanted to shake the hand of a man who treated him with decency. Fifty years later, he is still haunted by that encounter with Robert F. Kennedy the moment he was shot, and the onetime busboy is still looking for another leader who will help others. By Steve Lopez.

A BREAKTHROUGH ON BREAST CANCER?: She was told she had untreatable, advanced breast cancer. The National Institutes of Health said it treated it — and it’s gone, at least for now. From NPR’s Rob Stein.

We asked, you answered: Working with a debilitating, little-understood disease

After yesterday’s story on former Washington Post reporter Brian Vastag and chronic fatigue syndrome, or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), we got a variety of replies (and Brian sent his thanks). Here is a background piece from journalist Julie Rehmeyer and excerpts from a few readers:

From A.G. Block: You likely already know this, but author Laura Hillenbrand (Seabiscuit, Unbroken) suffers from ME. (Editor’s Note: Thanks! BTW, this is a 2014 NYT profile on how Hillenbrand, who has had ME since 1987, works).

From Cheryl Boerse: I was a Registered Nurse in San Mateo County Psychiatric Emergency Room when I became suddenly disabled by ME in 2015. I was granted short-term disability for one calendar year. When that ended, I was told by the Risk Management administrator that unless I was likely to be able to return to work within a couple of months, my long-term disability benefits would be denied. I was so ill and cognitively impaired at the time, that I believed him, and did not apply for LTD. So when my one year leave of absence ended, I resigned from my position. I later realized that I made a mistake and should have fought for my long-term disability benefits. I contacted a few attorneys who told me that by resigning I lost all my rights. I regret this very much now.

Part of the reason I gave up so easily was that the culture of my workplace disbelieved, dismissed and otherwise stigmatized my illness. Colleagues asked if I might just be depressed or stressed out. My boss joked about me taking advantage of the short-term disability insurance. …

I am thrilled for Brian and equally excited that there is now a precedent. As an ME advocate, I intend to help people fight for benefits to which they are entitled. Thanks for your interest in ME.

From Hinda Blum: I have suffered with this disease since 1990. Doctors told me I was depressed and working too hard (I was running my own business). … It took 3 years to get a diagnosis of CFS and then several years to get disability payments from Social Security.

This chronic disease diminished my life and finances. I was lucky to find a savvy lawyer who had heard of CFS, believed me and fought for my disability checks.

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