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CuriousCT: Vote on a story for The Day to report

January 24, 2019

New London — In the newsroom at The Day, we’ve been delighted by the response to the reader-engagement initiative CuriousCT that was launched last Monday. More than 60 questions were submitted on topics such as government spending, local history, climate change, speeding and affordable housing that you want us to report on.

Now, it’s time for you to vote on which one we should tackle first. We’ve narrowed these questions to a voting round of three:

Are state legislators unionized, and if so, what union? And what benefits do they receive beyond their salary? If medical insurance is a benefit, who pays the premium?Why do members of Congress get paid when the government is shut down?Supposedly, money generated from the lottery goes to a general fund to assist schools, etc. I would like to see money that has made its way to any local schools from the lottery.

Voting is open until the end of the day on Jan. 31, and you can vote by visiting bit.ly/CuriousCT.

When a winner is selected, a reporter will touch base with the person who submitted the question and then set out to answer it. The result will be a story that will appear in print and on theday.com.

How did you pick these three questions?

A committee, which includes three editors, three reporters, our web developer and multimedia director, met on Friday to go through the questions.

Hearken — the platform we’re using for CuriousCT, thanks to a grant The Day announced in August — recommended putting two to four questions in a voting round. It also recommended that all questions in each round have a similar tone and scope. For us, that meant not pairing a question on illegal immigration with one on celebrating dogs’ birthdays.

What we landed on was a group of questions about money.

The goal for the first round was to strike a balance: We didn’t want to start out with a round of lighter, more fun questions, but we also didn’t want to start out with a round of questions that were time-intensive. However, we plan to put both of those types of questions in future rounds.

There were some questions where we wanted to follow up with the submitter to clarify, some we felt were too broad to tackle and some we already had answered in previous reporting. Some we felt would be better suited for reporting outside a voting round.

We’d also like to point out that this project is run out of the newsroom, where we have minimal knowledge of matters related to circulation and delivery. If you have a problem with getting your paper delivered, please call Member Services at (860) 701-4400.

We marked many questions for a possible future round, so if a question you asked or liked didn’t make this round, there’s still hope for the future. We hope to hold voting rounds at least twice a month.

The $4,250 grant we got last year from The Lenfest Institute’s Community Listening and Engagement Fund pays for half of a one-year subscription to Hearken, which includes both technology and consulting.

We will, of course, continue with our usual methods of listening to the public, like attending community meetings and public hearings, knocking on doors, combing social media sites and following up on tips. But the idea behind CuriousCT is to give readers more ownership over the coverage, involve readers in the reporting process and remove barriers to asking questions.

It’s also an opportunity for us to think about topics we might not usually think about, and to address subjects that are nontopical but interesting.

If you’d like to submit a question for the next round, go to bit.ly/CuriousCT.

e.moser@theday.com