The National Association of Broadcasters has sent out their signature “2016 Election Toolkit” to radio and television newsrooms. The toolkit serves as an outline of best practices for broadcast newsrooms to follow when informing the general public, promoting voter turnout and helping citizens register to vote.
The guide features several PSA scripts with different time lengths for promoting voter turnout. NAB also encourages newsrooms to heavily use social media in order to extend the reach of a station’s coverage.
NAB outlined a series of tips in the guide on driving voter registration, they include:
● Sharing easy-to-use online tools like eac.gov, vote411.org and rockthevote.com
● Spreading the word by airing public service announcements and other voter registration promotions often and early in the election season. NAB says that a special emphasis should be on reiterating important deadlines and registration rules on social media and the station website, in addition to telling voters when and where they vote and how to physically vote
● Participate in local voter registration drives by teaming up with local organizations and to promote the event on news broadcasts
● Hold a virtual voter registration drive online and via social media
An outline of best practice for informing voters is also present in the toolkit. NAB encourages the following:
● Make your station an Election 2016 resource by dedicating a regular portion of your news or talk segments to election issues
● Localize your national election coverage and engage viewers with coverage of state, city and county ballot issues and initiatives
● Air regular profiles on those running for office and make those profiles accessible on the station website
● Give candidates free airtime to address potential voters and discuss their stances on important issues. Encourage viewers to submit questions for the candidate through social media and the station website
● And most importantly, tell all sides
Airing debates is a crucial type of election coverage. NAB even has some tips this, they include:
● Sponsor and host a debate for local candidates. Be sure to live stream the debate from your website and let your audience submit real-time questions through Facebook and Twitter. Have a newsroom staffer live-tweet the event and monitor the audience reaction through an online or text poll
● Bring members of the community together for a debate watch party. Encourage discussion and live stream it on the station website. Or as an alternative, make a “virtual watch party” through twitter, Facebook Live, or Periscope
If your station didn’t receive the “2016 Election Toolkit,” visit NAB’s public service page.