NPR Bulks Up Elections Coverage

A new podcast and another thumbs down to the horse race.

With its updated politics site and coverage plans, NPR is moving away from horserace coverage, something of a theme this election cycle.

“Picking winners is the job of voters,” said NPR svp of news and editorial director Michael Oreskes in an announcement describing the changes. “Our job is to deliver the most comprehensive issue-based election coverage combining local and national knowledge to produce stories that illuminate the choices voters will make.”

To that end, NPR Politics is going for a topical approach to coverage, one that will, as Washington editor Beth Donovan put in in the announcement, “tell the story of this election and voter concerns in ways that engage our audiences whether they love or loath politics.”

NPR has given some of its reporters new beats for the cycle: Scott Detrow will cover data and technology, Asma Khalid will look at the “intersection of demographics and politics,” and Sam Sanders will do pop culture. Scott Horsley and Danielle Kurtzleben have taken on a new cross-format fact-checking feature called Break It Down.

Among the changes is the introduction of a new weekly podcast, called, simply enough, the NPR Politics Podcast. Conversational in tone, the podcast will provide a look back at the previous week’s political happenings in addition to campaign-trail reporting and discussions of major political news. “You don’t have to keep up with politics to know what’s going on,” says Sanders in the introduction to the podcast, “just keep up with us.”