Introduction to The Carroll News election series


Patrick Semansky

President Donald Trump and Former Vice President Joe Biden will be on the ballot for Nov. 3.

Carrie Buchanan, The Carroll News Adviser

This fall, the Fundamentals of Journalism class at John Carroll undertook a major election project, researching and writing about issues that JCU people identified as important and worthy of public debate during the 2020 Election campaign. Most of these stories will be published starting this week in The Carroll News.

Our project took a different approach from the way journalists usually cover elections: the traditional “horse-race” coverage that focuses on candidates first, who’s ahead and who’s behind, almost like a sporting event. We decided, instead, to start with members of our community and ask them to identify the important issues, rather than letting the candidates tell us what matters in this election.

To that end, the Fundamentals of Journalism class organized into teams, each of which met with a student organization or, in one case, a university organization: the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion. The student organizations included the Latin American Student Association and Students Take Action, a campus version of the national group Everytown for Gun Safety.

At these meetings, student journalists asked group members to identify issues they felt that candidates in this election should be talking about with voters and proposing policy solutions — that is, things government might do to fix the problems. Then, each student picked an issue and did research about it, reading articles and reports and talking to experts, to get fully informed. Finally, we looked at candidates’ public statements and contacted as many candidates as possible to find out what they had to say about the issues our community members identified.

This series of stories arose from that process. We extend our thanks to everyone who helped us with this project: the organizations we met with, the candidates who spoke to us and the experts who agreed to be interviewed to share their knowledge of the issues. We hope that our stories prove interesting and perhaps even enlightening.

Here are links to all the Election features and some that ran shortly afterward:

Election feature: defunding the police

Election feature: Latinx health policy

Election feature: environmental racism in Cuyahoga County

Election feature: LGBTQIA+ protections

Election feature: gender equality

Election feature: young people as voters

Issues Latinx students face on college campuses

The impact of police brutality for the U.S.

Barriers prevent minorities from accessing mental health treatment

The effect of systemic racism at JCU and across the nation

Several stories focused on issues of gun violence:

Election feature: introduction to gun violence

Legislative initiatives for gun control

Election feature: law enforcement and gun control

Gun violence in urban communities


Three features by this class were published on a separate website, Election Reflections, on

Representation in Politics still lags for LGBTQ+ community

The possible future of transgender rights and protection laws

Education inequalities: An election issue for Ohio candidates