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Have questions? Here’s what you need to know about the VPM News People’s Agenda

person handing out voting stickers
(image: VPM)

The VPM News team wants to do something different from other media coverage of Virginia’s elections, so it's launching the People's Agenda Election Survey from April 11 to May 13, 2022. VPM News wants to hear your responses to one question: What do you want candidates to talk about as they compete for votes? 

How did you come up with the People’s Agenda Election Survey? 

The People’s Agenda Election Survey was based off the ideas of the Charlotte Observer and the Poynter Institute in 1992. Media critic and New York University professor Jay Rosen proposed the concept again in 2018. It’s since been used by Hearken, an audience engagement company that works with newsrooms, to develop a step-by-step guide to more community-focused reporting. VPM News recently started working with Hearken.  
What will you do with responses? 

Responses to the survey will be used by the VPM News team to develop the starting point for how we will approach what topics and stories reporters will pursue during the 2022 election cycle. Questions may be asked directly to candidates or could be used in VPM News hosted debates with candidates.  

If respondents include their name and contact information in the survey, a reporter may reach out to learn more about your experiences that drew you to pose your question.  

Who is looking at the responses? 

A team of eight VPM staff members will review submissions to find trends among community members responses. Four individuals are from the VPM News radio and digital team, three are from VPM News Focal Point and one person works in the newsroom’s community engagement division. The group features a wide range in age and life experiences, as well as a diversity of gender and racial backgrounds.  

Will community members be able to give feedback on the People’s Agenda Election Survey? 

Yes! About halfway through collecting submissions for the online survey, VPM News will release a few of the top questions and topics people posed. The public will be able to vote on which questions seem on track, as we begin to develop the People’s Agenda.  

VPM News is also planning to host meetings, also called listening sessions, over the summer. There, people can share their thoughts in-person and we will update the agenda.  

Can I participate if I’m not a U.S. citizen or registered to vote? 

VPM News wants all community members to participate, no matter their eligibility to vote.  

We ask that people 16 years old and up participate, in accordance with interview guidance from the Associated Press. If a parent or guardian has any questions, please feel free to reach out.  

Can I still participate if I don’t live in Virginia’s U.S. House of Representatives Districts 5 or 7? 

Yes, you can participate if you do not live in these specific House districts. It's helpful for us to see what Virginians as a whole are thinking about when it comes to priorities for candidates on the campaign trail.

A section of the survey will ask “Which election are you following?” Please select “I am following another race.”  

Why is VPM News following Virginia’s U.S. House of Representatives District 5 or 7 races specifically? 

VPM News has historically reported on districts 5 and 7. In 2020, when we launched the first version of this project, some feedback we received from community members was that the survey was too broad because VPM News did not specify which candidates or races the questions would be posed to. This time around, we wanted to focus on two elections that would be of interest to Virginians and people nationally. Virginia is typically seen as a bellwether state for elections and political tendencies, which would have implications for elections in other parts of the country.  

Have a different question? Email us at [email protected]