Each political cycle, Hearst TV increases the news resources it plans to dedicate to political coverage and this year’s mid-term elections appear to be no different.
Hearst owns stations in 26 markets across the U.S., who will produce political news this cycle under the “Commitment 2018” banner. That will include each station tackling one major policy issue — such as public health, education, immigration or the opioid epidemic — and reporting on that issue both on the air and across stations’ digital platforms. Hearst recently launched its own platform, Stitch, which highlights local stories that resonate nationally and the group kicked off 2018 with in-depth looks at health care in stations’ local communities.
“Today’s political climate continues to demonstrate the importance of grass roots issues and reporting,” said Jordan Wertlieb, president of Hearst Television, in a statement. “Our commitment to provide in-depth local perspective on the issues that matter to our viewers differentiates our stations from the plethora of media sources focused on national issues and agendas.”
“As local journalists, it’s our responsibility to drill down on issues of specific importance to local viewers in a relatable manner,” said Barbara Maushard, Hearst Television senior vice president, news, also in a statement. “Our viewers in Albuquerque, California and Florida are keenly interested in developments related to immigration; our viewers in Pittsburgh are particularly interested in infrastructure; our viewers in every one of our 26 markets care about the economy and education as it impacts them. It is our commitment to deliver this information to our communities, adhering to well-researched facts and avoiding drama and intrigue that cloud the issues.”
As the political season gets underway, Hearst is adding resources at its Washington, D.C., bureau, which was first established more than 20 years ago. These resources will be focused on holding candidates accountable, fact-checking their speeches and statements and tracking their positions.
The group also plans to offer some 50 multi-platform events – including debates, issue-focused specials and town halls – with each station pledging to host at least two of these.
Hearst also produces weekly news program Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, which airs on Hearst-owned and other TV stations across the country.