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N&O editor Bill Church column introduces Project 170

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We were honored to host a postgraduate level journalism student group at the University of Bergen. They recently attended Triangle as part of a program offered by the Washington, DC-based Nordic Press Center.

The University of Bergen is considered a world-class research university. Think more academic prestige than Triangle ACC College.

If this is the Norwegian way of doing things and doing it modestly, we can learn from our new friends.

The Nordic Press Center is founded and directed by Berit Enge, a former journalist turned diplomat and international campaign strategist with a degree in three countries. The mission of the Nordic Press Center is to:

The students spoke quietly (in perfect English), didn’t complain about our coffee, and seemed interested in this foreign policy pandemonium we call the North Carolina election.

Thad Ogburn, Managing Editor of News & Observer, and I were part of the conversation, asking political reporter Will Doran and political editor Jordan Schrader why the state election process was slightly simpler than a beginner could understand. It was wise leadership to have them explain why. DMVs.

unexplained ads

Will, Jordan and Thad served as journalistic ambassadors. Berritt did his part by keeping his students busy and away from experiencing an inexplicable aspect of Carolina political activism: television advertising.

Oh, God. Or whatever his three-letter acronym, or four-letter word, prefers to describe the relentless campaign ads that make Kardashian’s show look like a Sunday morning hymn.

If those TV ads are your only source of information about candidates, you:

  1. Fear that hordes of new IRS agents hanging out like zombies in your neighborhood will seize all your Halloween decorations because they’re not on the tax code.

  2. I wonder if only bullies and scammers and lawyers who need to shave their beards are running.

  3. I want to start a non-profit organization for good kids in grocery stores who are told not to eat muffins for after school snacks.

There are other ways to be informed about state politics. Insert N&O commercial here. Yes, approve the message.

We recently announced a major initiative to question all candidates running for state legislature and make that information available to the public and other media free of charge. Money made this special coverage possible.

project 170

We call it Project 170 because there are 170 separate elections for 170 seats. More than 50 of these seats are non-voting. But there are over 300 candidates.

“There is a lack of information about many tribes, especially in areas outside of the Triangle and Charlotte. Whether voters find it on our website or through other means, this is a voter gap in these areas.” I hope it helps fill in the gaps,” says Jordan.

Once we receive the survey, we post/publish it in our online voter guide (www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/voter-guide). Our goal is to provide the key information we get from our candidates.

If you’re going to vote for a straight party, that’s your choice.

If you believe in picking the best candidates, regardless of political party, that’s your choice.

That’s what we’re working on about the electoral process. choose.

I hope the smarter Norwegian students have a better understanding of Carolina politics and stay away from our chats.

Yes, it’s complicated. Yes it’s confusing. But like coffee, it gets the job done.

Bill Church is Editor in Chief of The News & Observer. He’s looking for his t-shirt from the University of Bergen.

This story was originally published October 8, 2022 at 9:00 am.

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