Your Vote Ohio

Posted at 12:13 PM, May 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-16 12:13:51-04

A  group  of  Ohio  broadcasters  and  newspapers  met  in  December  2015  and  agreed  that  Ohioans  receive  short  shrift  in  thedemocratic process. For one, their voices aren’t heard above the programmed political rhetoric, and two, the candidates aren’t held accountable to the concerns of the people.

Out  of  that  grew  The  Ohio  Media  Project,  a  group  of  more than  a  dozen  major  news  outlets  determined  to  give  voice  to Ohioans in a series of stories known as Your Vote Ohio.

Already, projects have been published on Ohio’s high level of disgust with government, and the seriously deteriorating Ohio economy.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundationgave $175,000 to the  non-partisan civic engagement group Jefferson Center and  the  Bliss  Institute  for  Applied  Politicsat  the  University  of  Akron  to  assist  Knight’s hometown  paper,  the  Akron  Beacon Journal,  in  facilitating  the  statewide  project.  The  group  also received  support  from  the  Akron  Community  Foundation  and independent, anonymous Akron donors.

Additional support is being sought to insure that all major metro areas are represented in the research and reporting.

Funding  will  pay  for  statewide  polling,  which  will  guide  the  news  organizations  in  discerning  the  concerns  of  Ohioans,  and deliberative  sessions  facilitated  by  the  Jefferson  Center,  which  will  help  news  organizations  understand  how  best  to  serve the voters.

The first round of polling is in the field and will be reported in late May or early June.

Knight also is supporting the  news organizations’ efforts  to engage citizens through social media, with the Jefferson Center guiding that effort  on the Your Vote Ohio Facebook page and #YourVoteOhio on Twitter.

The  Solutions  Journalism  Network,  a  non-profit  group  from  New  York,  will  provide  training  to  Akron-Canton  area  media  on how to identify solutions to problems identified by citizens, among them the onslaught of negative political ads that occur e very four years.

The foundation for the Akron role in the project comes from the 2012 America Today/Ohio Civility Project, in which the Bliss Institute,  the  Akron  faith  community  and  the  Beacon  Journal  conducted  polling  and  25  focus  groups  exploring  the  growing tension in politics and public conversation.

Citizens blamed the media as the number one facilitator in the angry dialog that was dividing the country. 

The December media meeting grew out of an October 2015 retreat assembled by the  National  Institute for Civil  Discourse, based in Tucson and Washington, D.C. The NICD, formed at the University of Arizona as a result of the assassination attempt on  the  life  of  U.S.  Rep.  Gabrielle  Giffords  of  Tucson,  has  created  a  Text  Talk  Vote  engagement  program  to  help  Ohioans discuss tough issues in the election. 


Voters cringe over political ads, eyes and brains monitored during University of Akron test

Most of the willing participants wore a complex set of headphones with moistened tentacles reaching into their hair, touching their scalp. Tiny sensors measured brain waves.

A long, narrow bar sat below the computer screen in front of them, watching the movement of their eyes.

This was a test — an effort to determine if, and how deeply, political advertising affects people.

There was little doubt when all was done.


Akron students focus on negative tone of presidential campaign, stress the importance of character

Donald Trump can’t be trusted because his inflammatory, racially and ethnically charged rhetoric is divisive.

Hillary Clinton can’t be trusted because she could have compromised national security when she used her private email account for State Department business.

Bernie Sanders can’t be trusted because he embraces socialist ideology.

Those are all claims that some local high school students have heard about the presidential candidates. 
America's rich use money to sway swing-state voters

In the 2012 election, Ohio radio and television stations couldn’t sign contracts for political advertising fast enough as a seismic shift occurred in American politics, playing out on TV screens and car radios across the Buckeye State.

Independent political groups with confusing-sounding labels like super PACs, 501(C)(4)s, and 527 organizations singled out Ohio to divide tens of millions of dollars among dozens of broadcasters to lock up air time.

Their goal: Sway, if not manipulate the famous swing-state voters.