McClatchy is rolling out a multi-pronged midterm election game plan, centered around a partnership program with political influencers and extending into a documentary of Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke and an editorial partnership with digital millennial news site, Ozy.

Why it matters: Executives from both McClatchy and Ozy believe there are business and editorial opportunities presented by a lack of attention to state and local elections by many national news outlets and a wariness by consumers to trust national outlets with election reporting after the 2016 race.

  • "Unlike other newsrooms with a Washington- or New York-driven approach, ours will be focused on the communities where McClatchy is strong on the ground," says Kristin Roberts, Executive Editor of McClatchy DC and Regional Editor of McClatchy’s East region. McClatchy has local newsrooms across 14 states.
  • "Following 2016, we decided we'd be fool-hearted to leave the answers up to pollsters and pundits, instead we decided to focus on the third P — the people" says Ozy CEO Carlos Watson.

As part of the partnership, Ozy and McClatchy will produce a new series that focuses exclusively on politics and the 12 most critical House, Senate and gubernatorial campaigns for McClatchy’s local audiences. The two companies will split the coverage of different races across the country.

McCalatchy is also launching “The Influencer Series” a multi-state project in California, Florida, Missouri and North Carolina, that's meant to create conversations about politics and policy in communities where McClatchy’s leading local news brands are based.

  • The Sacramento Bee, Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star, The Raleigh News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer are leading the project in their respective states and have recruited more than 200 leaders to participate in surveys through the election cycle on the policy issues and sentiments most important to their communities.
  • Influencers range from former politicians like former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to corporate executives like Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good to University of California President and former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

McClatchy plans to sell sponsorships around the new projects. VP of Video and New Ventures Andrew Pergam tells Axios that corporate and non-profit advertisers have been looking for more multi-platform advertising opportunities at the local level.

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