Listen up: How we’re covering Election 2023 

Elections are about the future, and Lafayette’s young voters have the greatest stake in it. 

Our goal: Engage young voters in Lafayette’s elections. Young voters often tune out because they get the vibe that our leaders aren’t listening.

Straight News Online is committed to election coverage that puts these voters front and center.

How? By letting young voters set the agenda. Our election coverage…

  • Listens first to the issues impacting young voters
  • Elevates those issues through in-depth reporting
  • Advocates that candidates address those issues
  • Equips young voters to advocate for themselves

This is a big election. And we’re a small news organization. We believe we have the greatest impact when we focus on our own backyard.

Our coverage will prioritize races that directly impact and/or originate in the city of Lafayette.

  • Mayor-President
  • City Council
  • Parish Council

Based on voter feedback to-date, our coverage will highlight these issues: 

  • Housing
  • Quality of life and opportunity
  • Flooding

This framework will guide what we report and how we report it. That means you can expect election coverage that will look different from what you might be used to. It’s designed to help young voters — and everyone who cares about them — understand how this election impacts them and to get the answers they need to make informed decisions in the voting booth.

FAQ

Who is a “young” voter?

Good question! In general, we’re thinking of people whom policy experts often call “young talent.”  You might be in college, getting started in the workforce or reaching a point in your life where you’re making decisions about where to put down roots. It’s not a strict definition. When in doubt, count yourself in. 

How are you listening to young voters? 

Since late last year, we’ve deployed online surveys, held events and solicited feedback from young voters. In all, we’ve collected responses from around 450 people and counting. That input helped us identify housing, quality of life and opportunity and flooding as topics we need to cover during the election. We will continue publishing surveys and hosting events this fall. 

You’re not talking to every young voter. How can you say these priorities represent everyone?  

Fair point! This isn’t a scientific survey. We’re relaying what we’ve heard from people we’ve been able to reach, and we’re working to reach more. So, yes, there are blindspots, and it’s important to keep those in mind when evaluating our coverage. If you don’t feel like your voice is represented here, let us know. 

How is your election coverage different?

We're going to focus on the issues, not the races. You can expect coverage that explains how Lafayette Consolidated Government impacts what young voters tell us they're concerned about. Those issues will also guide the kinds of questions we do ask on the campaign trail.

How are you advocating for issues? Aren’t journalists not supposed to advocate?  

We’re not advocating policy positions. Instead, we’re advocating that these issues — housing, quality of life and opportunity, flooding — should be top of mind for candidates if they want to address what matters to young voters. Representing the interests of our readers and our community is an important role for the press in a democracy. 

What do you mean by “equipping” young voters to advocate for themselves? 

Our election coverage connects the dots between issues identified by young voters and the offices on the ballot. For example, we want young voters to understand how local government impacts housing policy so they can ask informed questions and hold their leaders accountable on the campaign trail and when they’re in office. We’re telling voters where the levers are, not how to pull them.

Which races are you going to cover? 

We’re focused on the races related to Lafayette Consolidated Government: City Council, Parish Council and Mayor-President.

Why are you focusing on the city of Lafayette?  

We’re a small team and we know the city of Lafayette best. Drawing a boundary around the city helps us draw a line between what we can cover and what we can’t. 

Are you not going to cover other races?  

We won’t have detailed coverage of the races for governor, Legislature, Lafayette Parish School Board or parish assessor. Our Election Guide includes a list of what’s on the ballot and who’s running.