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Help shape WUWM's 2024 election coverage

I voted stickers are seen at a polling place during the midterm election Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Milwaukee.
Morry Gash
I voted stickers are seen at a polling place during the midterm election Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Milwaukee.

Milwaukeeans, you have a say in the laws, in services and in our democracy. Politicians are here to serve you.

And, we are here to help you to make decisions and affect change — from knowing how to vote, to what that referendum on your ballot actually means, to how to have a say in Wisconsin’s budget.

Leading up to the 2024 elections, WUWM wants to know what’s most important to you so that we can tailor our coverage around it.

Your feedback will help inform our election coverage.

We will ask candidates the questions you want answered and share out what they believe in.

We report the facts you need to fully participate.

Four people at a table
Grace Alvarez
WUWM reporters Maayan Silver and Eddie Morales talk with organizers for Metcalfe Park Community Bridges ahead of community outreach on March 21, 2023.

Frequently asked election questions

Where can I find information about candidates and issues?

Listen to WUWM 89.7 FM on your radio or tell your smart speaker to “Play WUWM” during Morning Edition (5-9 a.m.) and Lake Effect (noon to 1 p.m.) weekdays. Also, visit WUWM.com and the WUWM app to listen to and read our stories.

Ahead of primary and general elections in Wisconsin, WUWM also creates a digital voter guide with information on the voting process, how to participate and the elections on the ballot — who the candidates are, what they believe in and what's at stake.

How do you gather story ideas?

Story ideas come from just about anywhere. It can be a discussion with a family member that sparks an idea, a conversation overheard on the bus or we notice something happening in the community. They also come from you.

Community members can always reach out to WUWM with story suggestions — ideas or questions can be submitted by phone, email or via our website. These submissions help inform the stories that we publish.

Story ideas are also generated by reporters, producers and others on staff. They can come from events, a press release, social media, a conversation or curiosity. It’s then our job to decide if an idea will be beneficial to our community and our listeners.

We focus our stories on the Milwaukee area and the things impacting people who live here. We filter through all of these ideas by asking ourselves: will this inform the public, have an impact on people, find a solution to an issue, or help the community feel more connected to each other or to what’s going on around them.

We aim to cover what you want to know.

How do you gather and incorporate community feedback into your reporting?

WUWM gathers feedback in a variety of different ways — embedding forms into our web stories, distributing surveys, sharing social media callouts.

WUWM reporters and producers also attend community events — like Milwaukee’s Juneteenth celebration — to find out what issues are most important and understand the information needs of the people we serve.

And, we connect with community members through engagement outings — from hanging out at UWM's union to standing outside El Rey. Through our everyday reporting, we stop to ask people what issues are top of mind and what do they want to know from political leaders.

WUWM then incorporates these perspectives into our election coverage in a variety of ways — from dictating what stories we report on, to featuring a community connection in a story, to shaping the questions we ask political candidates and leaders.

We also aim to follow up with community members who appear in our stories so that they can provide additional feedback. Our goal is to answer questions, investigate solutions and be accountable.

This is a work in progress. We have work to do to better align ourselves with your information needs.

What races are included in WUWM’s voter guide?

WUWM prioritizes primary and general elections that impact people living in southeastern Wisconsin. We focus our efforts on providing information on candidates running in statewide, Milwaukee County-wide and City of Milwaukee-wide elections as well as on referendums.

For national races, we also include information on candidates running for president, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives with districts in southeastern Wisconsin.

We will also include additional races — such as Wisconsin Legislature with districts in southeastern Wisconsin, Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, Milwaukee Common Council, Milwaukee School Board — in our voter guide if there is: no incumbent running, institutional or groundswell of support for a surprising candidate, new maps or changes in competitiveness of a race, a potential to change balance of power or community interest.

For the races we do include in the voter guide, we share information on all of the candidates on the ballot, as long as candidate information is available publicly and/or the candidate responds to requests for information.

What’s WUWM’s approach to reaching out to candidates for interviews? And what do you do if someone doesn’t respond?

We attempt to interview the candidates from all parties ahead of a general election. We give candidates two weeks to respond, reaching out a maximum of four times via email and/or phone.

We inform candidates that we will do a non-interview if they don’t agree to be interviewed. A non-interview is a story that presents the candidate’s policy stances as we understand them as well as the questions we are hoping to ask the person.

If a candidate refuses to do an interview or doesn’t respond, the non-interview will air on Lake Effect and be published online. A news segment featuring interview highlights with the candidate’s opponent will say that the candidate refused to do an interview or didn’t respond, and we will share a few of the candidate’s stances on issues.

In candidate interviews, we do not ask candidates identical lists of questions, and the questions are influenced by what we hear from the community.

When it comes to the presidential election, when do you cover presidential, candidate and surrogate visits?

Presidents: WUWM covers many of the visits to Wisconsin made by sitting U.S. presidents. The factors that determine whether we cover a visit include whether the president’s visit is within WUWM’s listening area or within a reasonable driving distance from the Milwaukee area, and whether NPR is interested in having a WUWM reporter cover the event/visit.

Presidential candidates: WUWM judges the newsworthiness of visits from candidates for president based a number of factors, such as: proximity to Milwaukee, timeliness of the visit, potential local impact of announcement/discussion, whether the candidates are reaching out to groups or individuals that are expected to play a pivotal role in the election, and how much attention Milwaukee and Wisconsin are getting from national figures.

Decisions to cover the events/visits also are determined by how voters and potential voters may respond to the appearance. In addition, a WUWM reporter may cover an event or visit for NPR.

Surrogates: When deciding whether to cover the visit by a surrogate for a president or presidential candidate, WUWM evaluates the position/power that the surrogate holds, the timeliness of the event/visit, the potential local impact of what's being announced/discussed, and how much attention Milwaukee and Wisconsin are getting from national figures. Decisions to cover the events/visits also are determined by how voters and potential voters may respond to the appearance. In addition, a WUWM reporter may cover an event or visit for NPR.

Questions? Ideas? We'd love to hear from you.

Ann-Elise is WUWM's news director.
Eddie is a WUWM news reporter.
Becky is WUWM's executive producer of Lake Effect.
Joy is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Maayan is a WUWM news reporter.