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The Daily Tar Heel

Column: How we approached our election coverage

"I Voted Today" stickers pictured at Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill on Monday, Oct. 31, 2022.

Nov. 8 has been circled in red on my calendar for a long time. 

From the moment I became City & State Editor, I’ve been planning how The Daily Tar Heel would cover the 2022 Midterms. 

Since then, the DTH has been preparing our election coverage with one thing in mind: what reader needs to know. 

This year’s midterm elections are one of the most important we have encountered, especially for students. More is on the line this year — access to reproductive health care after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, as well as social, economic and climate reforms. 

Even before this semester, DTH editors and reporters have been thinking about how we could best serve the needs of the Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange County communities through our coverage. 

From the primary elections in May until today, the City & State Desk has been writing stories about candidates, important races and issues that are motivating voters.

We were in the DTH office until 3 a.m. on the night of the primary elections last spring, writing stories as election results were released. We will be doing the same tonight, the evening of Nov. 8. 

Why? Because election coverage is some of the most important work the City & State Desk does. 

If we didn’t do this work, Orange County would be one step closer to being a news desert — a community with limited access to credible and comprehensive news and information that feeds democracy at the grassroots level. 

DTH reporters talked to many of the candidates on the ballot and got answers to questions many voters have.  

We published a 20-page Election Preview paper last week. This week, we have our first-ever Election Day Special edition paper.

You see the papers in their finished form. But, what you don’t see is reporters doing the groundwork, talking with candidates and voters alike. You don’t see editors checking every fact and word in the stories you read. You don’t see design staffers and editors working into the morning hours to make beautiful front-page graphics. You don’t see photographers going on last minute trips to get the perfect photo for the story. 

An incredible amount of effort goes into the pages you read every week, and even more goes into a special edition paper.

We do all of this because it’s a privilege to serve the communities of UNC, Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange County. 

In addition to our print papers, we have also been producing multimedia content for the midterm elections. The City & State Desk has recorded five episodes of "Before You Vote," a podcast where we discuss important topics related to voting.

We have discussed how to vote, the impacts of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, candidates on the ballot, early voting, voting accessibility and campaign spending. Our last episode will come out after Election Day and will run through election results. You can listen on Apple Music and Spotify. 

As I said before, we will also be writing election results stories on election night.

Be sure to follow the City & State Desk on Twitter at @DTHCityState. Tonight, we will be live tweeting as election results come out.

While most election results will come in too late tonight to make it into our Wednesday paper, you will be able to find all of our election preview and election results stories on our Election Center on The Daily Tar Heel's website. 


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Emmy Martin

Emmy Martin is the 2023-24 editor-in-chief of The Daily Tar Heel. She has previously served as the DTH's city & state editor and summer managing editor. Emmy is a junior pursuing a double major in journalism and media and information science.