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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

DiDi to delist from NYSE under Chinese govt pressure

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Chinese ride-hail giant DiDi said it will delist from the New York Stock Exchange, following a Chinese government crackdown on foreign listings.

Why it matters: This reflects how geopolitical tensions are bleeding into the capital markets.

Updated 20 mins ago - Health

Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states

A healthcare worker inserts a Covid-19 rapid test into a machine in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Daniel Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hawaii became on Thursday the fifth state to confirm the newly discovered Omicron variant after New York announced five new cases earlier in the day.

The latest: In Hawaii, the variant was found in an unvaccinated O'ahu resident with moderate symptoms who had previously been infected with COVID-19, per a state health department statement. The variant has also been confirmed in California, Colorado and Minnesota.

Senate Dems receive max donations from Nord Stream 2 lobbyist

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A major Democratic donor and Nord Stream 2 lobbyist has made maximum campaign contributions this year to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and vulnerable Senate Democrats, campaign finance records show.

Why it matters: If pressure from the White House to vote against reimposing sanctions on the Russia-backed natural gas pipeline weren't enough, Democrats who back such legislation also will be at loggerheads with one of their party's top fundraisers.