The Citizens Agenda is a new approach to covering political campaigns, one that ends the obsession with “the horse race” and demands in-depth response from candidates on the issues that are most important to readers.

Journal Register Company newspapers in Connecticut, including The Register Citizen, the New Haven Register, The Middletown Press and the Litchfield County Times, are using this approach to cover the campaign for Connecticut’s 5th District seat in Congress.

Instead of assigning reporters to individual campaigns, where the focus tend to be on inside political process gossip and the agenda set by the candidate’s PR machine, we are engaging our audience to determine the five issues they consider most important. Then we will be assigning reporters to cover the 5th District through an in-depth look at the candidates’ plans and positions on those issues.

See our Contact Page for information on how to reach our staff or learn more about available advertising packages.

Fact Checker
Over the course of the campaign for Connecticut’s 5th District seat in Congress this year, veteran New Haven Register reporter and editor Mary O’Leary will be writing “Fact Check” reports on statements and assertions made by the candidates.

If more than one candidate is claiming to lead the field in fundraising, who is right? Did a particular candidate really vote to raise taxes when they served in the Legislature? Is Congress to blame for the price of gas? She’ll check these types of statements from the 5th District candidates and more.

Have you seen something on a candidate’s campaign website or said at a debate or in an interview that you’d like Fact Checked? Send your suggestions to Mary O’Leary at moleary@nhregister.com.

The Horse Race
Who’s winning the fundraising war? Who has the most endorsements? Why can’t candidates agree on how many debates to have? What does it mean that a former supporter of one candidate is now working for his opponent?

The whole point of our Citizens Agenda coverage is to focus on issues instead of process stories like these. But be assured – the “Horse Race” portion of our 5th District site will provide a comprehensive and up-to-date look at these twists and turns.

Citizens Agenda
The Citizens Agenda project is part of a partnership between Journal Register Company parent Digital First Media, the American edition of The Guardian and New York University’s Studio 20 journalism graduate school program.

The Guardian will be focusing on the 2012 presidential race, while Journal Register papers in Connecticut will be focusing on the 5th District Congress and U.S. Senate races.

In announcing the program, NYU Professor Jay Rosen and The Guardian’s Amanda Michel wrote, “The alternative to ‘who’s going to win in the game of getting elected?’ is, we think, a ‘citizens agenda’ approach to campaign coverage. It starts with a question: what do voters want the candidates to be discussing as they compete with each other in 2012? If we can get enough people to answer to that question, we’ll have an alternative to election coverage as usual.”

Digital First Media Editor-In-Chief Jim Brady said, “I think the partnership with the Guardian is a model for national-local media partnerships that I hope will continue to evolve. The Guardian will take on the huge national piece of the citizens agenda, and at Journal Register Company and MediaNews Group papers, we’ll localize it. So, in every city or town where we have a news organization, we’ll be able to find out what citizens are most interested in discussing and try and get them the answers they need to make an informed decision when they show up to vote.”

Contact Us
Advertise on the Citizens Agenda:

There are many options and premium packages available to advertise on the Citizens Agenda site. Email Brenda Grover for more information, bgrover@journalregister.com.

Matt DeRienzo, Connecticut Group Editormderienzo@journalregister.com
Matt is the Journal Register Company Connecticut Group Editor, and profiled 5th District candidate Justin Bernier for the Citizens Agenda. He leads and edits coverage for Connecticut’s 5th District Congressional and U.S. Senate races. He also writes the Connecticut Newsroom blog. Follow him on Twitter – @MattDeRienzo.

Angela Carter, Community Engagement Editoracarter@journalregister.com
Angela is Community Engagement Editor at the New Haven Register and helps lead the Citizens Agenda initiative by giving 5th District voters a forum to decide which issues the race should focus on. She also writes on the Open Newsroom blog. Follow her on Twitter – @ReachAngi.

Ed Stannard, Community Engagement Editorestannard@journalregister.com
Ed is Community Engagement Editor at the New Haven Register and helps lead the Citizens Agenda initiative by giving 5th District voters a forum to decide which issues the race should focus on. He also writes on the Open Newsroom blog. Follow him on Twitter – @EdStannardNHR.

Mary O’Leary, Taxes and National Debt Reportermoleary@journalregister.com
Mary is the New Haven Register Topics Editor and covers Taxes and National Debt for Connecticut’s 5th District race. She   profiled 5th District candidate Chris Donovan, U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon and writes the investigative Fact Check section. Follow her on Twitter – @nhrmoleary

Jordan Fenster, Jobs and the Economy Reporterjfenster@journalregister.com
Jordan is the political reporter for the New Haven Register and covers jobs and the economy for Connecticut’s 5th District Race. He profiled 5th District candidate Mark Greenberg, U.S. Senate candidate Brian K. Hill, and covers the Horse Race aspect of the 5th District race. He also writes and edits the Connecticut State Politics blog. Follow him on Twitter – @JordanFenster.

Luther Turmelle, Energy Policy Reporterlturmelle@journalregister.com
Luther covers utility companies and the towns of Cheshire and Wallingford for the New Haven Register and covers energy policy for Connecticut’s 5th District Race. He profiled 5th District candidate Elizabeth Esty and U.S. Senate Candidate Chris Murphy. He also writes two blogs: Power to the People and Life In Two Northern Towns. Follow him on Twitter – @LutherTurmelle

Ricky Campbell, Health Care Reporterrcampbell@journalregister.com
Ricky is a news and business reporter for the Register Citizen and covers health care for Connecticut’s 5th District Congressional Race. He is Secretary for  Connecticut SPJ and contributes to the Open Records Connecticut blog. Follow him on Twitter – @rickycampbellRC

Chris March, Website Producer 
Chris is the Assistant Managing Editor for Journal Register Company Connecticut Group and is the web producer and presentation editor for Connecticut’s 5th District and U.S Senate websites.

Rick Thomason, Staff Reporterrthomason@journalregister.com
Rick is the Editor of The Register Citizen and profiled 5th District candidate Mike Clark for the Citizens Agenda. Follow him on Twitter – @RickThomason

Kathryn Boughton, Staff Reporterkboughton@journalregister.com
Kathryn is the Associate Editor for the Litchfield County Times and profiled Andrew Roraback for the Citizens Agenda. 

Scot Allyn, Staff Reportersallyn@journalregister.com
Scott is Editor for the Foothills Media Group and profiled 5th District Congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley for the Citizens Agenda. Follow him on Twitter – @scot_allyn

Jack Corragio, Staff Reporterjcorragio@journalregister.com
Jack covers the towns of Bridgewater, Roxbury and Washington for The Litchfield County Times and profiled Dan Roberti for the Citizens Agenda. He also writes the Man-Dog Bites Self blog.

Brenda Grover, Advertisingbgrover@journalregister.com
There are many options and premium packages available to advertise on the Connecticut 5th District election site. Email Brenda for more information.