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APME NATIONAL REPORTING PROJECT: Following the money to Election Day 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jack Lail
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Money will be a big story leading into Election Day – so much so that the Associated Press Managing Editors association has decided to make tracking election spending this year's APME national reporting project.

APME kicked off the project in July and August with five free webinars on campaign finance by The Associated Press and the Sunlight Foundation that attracted dozens of reporters and editors from across the country. Now we are entering the next phase of the project, and we need your help. We are gathering examples uncovered by APME member newspapers for a national story following the money that special interests are spending to try to sway voters,particularly outside spending on TV adsdue in part to the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling.

The APME project will track outside money pouring into state and congressional races and show readers what the spenders want to achieve in Washington or the states. We plan a national story in October based on what APME member newspapers are seeing in their communities and states. All AP member newspapers are invited to take part.

It's easy to contribute: When you run a story about outside spending on TV ads or other election activities in your area, e-mail a copy to Associated Press reporter Sharon Theimer at Your stories will be posted in a special section of the APME website devoted to the project and will provide material for the national story. Please send your stories to Sharon by the close of business Monday, Oct. 4.

Here are questions we hope your contributions and the national story will answer:

_ Is Citizens United leading to an onslaught of corporate, union and interest group ads in the contested state and congressional races you're covering, or not?

_ How difficult is it to track the sources of the ad spending? Are corporations, interest groups and other outside spenders disclosing the donors whose money was used for the ads, or not? Are those airing the ads household names or new groups?

_ Are outside spenders devoting their money to the air war – TV and radio ads – or the ground game, focusing on reaching voters individually through direct mail, phone calls and door-to-door visits to try to get out the vote, or both?

_ What do the interests behind the ads and get-out-the-vote efforts hope to get from Congress or state government? What are they lobbying on?

APME member newspapers will be covering every contested state, House and Senate race in the country, and ourgoal is to use what they are seeing toprovide readers with a collective picture of election spending more comprehensive than they can find anywhere else. We hope you will take part.If you have any questions, please contact APME Secretary Bob Heisse at or (814) 231-4640 or AP reporter Sharon Theimer at or (202) 641-9466.APME member newspapers are also invited to join a special listserv focusing on campaign finance coverage and the reporting project. Please contact Sharon if you would like to join. Thank you for your help.

Associated Press Media Editors

APME is a professional network, a resource for helping editors and broadcasters improve their news coverage and newsroom operations.

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