The first virtual event in a series of listening sessions The Courier Journal has held to prepared people for election season. Listen to the full session
Louisville Courier Journal
America is more polarized and divided into tribal groups now than any time since the 1960s. What is the role of a newspaper like The Courier Journal in addressing and improving these divisions in American society?
That was just one of many questions posed to The Courier Journal’s team of political reporters, including Joe Sonka and Deborah Yetter, columnist Joe Gerth and political editor Robert J. Byers during Tuesday’s virtual On Kentucky Politics listening session held via Zoom.
The free virtual event brought together about 25 people to discuss everything from the Breonna Taylor shooting and subsequent Black Lives Matters protests in Louisville to defunding the police department as well as absentee ballots and voter education ahead of the June primary and more.
This was the first virtual event in a series of listening sessions The Courier Journal has held since 2019 to help prepare people for the primary and November election, when President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell are up for reelection.
The hourlong conversation, led by Courier Journal Community Impact Director Veda Morgan, also touched on additional training for police officers when encountering people with mental health issues, proposed school board tax increases, purging voter rolls, state Senate races and getting broadband internet access to all 120 Kentucky counties.
While the topics varied, an overarching theme was the role local news media plays in educating the public about these issues, particularly race relations.
“Race relations is an incredibly entangled conversation. I believe our job is to pull strands out and lay it out as thoughtfully and quickly as we can over the next few weeks,” Courier Journal Editor Rick Green said. “Our coverage will not be confined to those who’ve marched and continue to march. We will continue to monitor that, but our conversations need to be deeper and more thoughtful than that.”
Participant Joanie Prentice weighed in on the defunding police narrative and said it will become a “hot-button political issue” that will create a lot of division and asked Green and his staff at The Courier Journal to “make clear” what positions on various side of that debate mean.
Susan Stopher said a big area of concern for her as Kentucky heads into its June 23 primary is the process of mail-in and absentee ballots.
“I think people have a million questions about how it will work, from mechanical voting issues, if ballots will get back in time,” and more, she said.
Larry Gettleman chimed in, calling for officials to reassess and purge the voter rolls to help with low voter turnout numbers ahead of the November election.
To keep you up to date on all things politics, we’ve launched a free “On Kentucky Politics” newsletter that summarizes everything happening on the political scene in Kentucky each week. You can sign up for the newsletter at profile.courier-journal.com/newsletters/on-kentucky-politics.
If you have a question about future virtual events, details of which will be announced at a later date, please send a note to Digital Content Editor Bobby Shipman at [email protected]
Together we can make smart choices to grow and improve our community.
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