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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.

Go deeper

Congress plots COVID pandemic-era office upgrades

oving crates outside Rep. Elise Stefanik's old office Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The House plans to renovate members' suites even though staff are worried about an influx of contractors and D.C. is tightening restrictions on large gatherings, some staffers told Axios.

Why it matters: The Capitol has been closed to public tours since March. Work over the holiday season comes as U.S. coronavirus cases spike, Americans beg for more pandemic assistance and food lines grow.

Trump pressures Barr to release so-called Durham report

Bill Barr. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump and his allies are piling extreme pressure on Attorney General Bill Barr to release a report that Trump believes could hurt perceived Obama-era enemies — and view Barr's designation of John Durham as special counsel as a stall tactic, sources familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Speculation over Barr's fate grew on Tuesday, with just 49 days remaining in Trump's presidency, after Barr gave an interview to the Associated Press in which he said the Justice Department has not uncovered evidence of widespread fraud that could change the election's outcome.

CDC to cut guidance on quarantine period for coronavirus exposure

A health care worker oversees cars as people arrive to get tested for coronavirus at a testing site in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The CDC will soon shorten its guidance for quarantine periods following exposure to COVID-19, AP reported Tuesday and Axios can confirm.

Why it matters: Quarantine helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which can occur before a person knows they're sick or if they're infected without feeling any symptoms. The current recommended period to stay home if exposed to the virus is 14 days. The CDC plans to amend this to 10 days or seven with a negative test, an official told Axios.

  • The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.