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The Star Tribune's 2024 elections coverage will provide the facts and context you need to be informed about voting and the people seeking your vote.

Covering elections, candidates and critical policies is core to the Star Tribune's public service mission. Our journalists are independent, curious and respectful, and committed to keeping you at the center of our elections coverage.

How do we cover the state?

Minnesota is geographically, politically and culturally diverse, and we cover races, policies and candidates across the entire state, not just the Twin Cities metro area. We have reporters in Duluth, Rochester and St. Cloud, and are adding staff reporters based in southwest and northwest Minnesota, as well as a columnist based outside the metro area. Our politics and agriculture reporters frequently travel the state writing about issues most relevant to those communities.

How do we decide what races and candidates to cover?

We have the largest politics team in the Upper Midwest, but we can't cover every candidate on the ballot this year. We choose which races we cover closely by using our best judgment of what's most newsworthy.

So how do we decide what's most newsworthy? Some of the factors are:

  • Power: Races for seats that wield a disproportionate amount of influence over policy, or that can shape or shift the balance of power in St. Paul or Washington, D.C., often receive more coverage and attention.
  • Interest: We focus on what our readers are curious about. Is a race or a candidate catching on for something that is grabbing the attention of the public because it is an oddity or an outlier, or because it is emblematic of a greater theme? But just because people are tweeting about it does not mean we have to write about it.
  • Competitiveness: Generally, races in which the results are not a foregone conclusion will receive more coverage and attention. In our reporting, we seek to explain why a race is (or isn't) competitive. We look at how voters have historically voted, changes to demographics, political trends, polling, and the amount of money being spent by the candidates.

Our election coverage also goes beyond closely watching individual races. We also look to explain trends, movements and how money influences elections.

How do we cover politics in an unbiased way?

We get this question a lot. We know it can be tough to separate partisan messaging from public service journalism. We are committed to examining issues fairly and broadly and representing diverse viewpoints in their best light. Our journalists hold each other accountable for being even-handed and fair, and our top priority is equipping the people of Minnesota to navigate and fully participate in public life.

We often get asked about our owner and publisher, since our owner is a former Republican lawmaker and our publisher used to work in DFL Gov. Tim Walz's administration. We recognize that there's a perception that their roles influence our news coverage. But the firewall between news and our opinion section is real — Glen Taylor and Steve Grove don't tell us how to cover politics. We're journalists with extensive experience covering all sides of political debates and our team has deep sourcing with candidates across the political spectrum. Are we perfect? No. Are we constantly striving to report fairly and objectively? Yes.

What about political endorsements?

At the Star Tribune, we have a clear line between our news and opinion departments. We have opinion journalists who write for the editorial section and whose job it is to provoke healthy debate and influence public affairs. They endorse political candidates as part of that mission. They operate completely separately from the journalists in the newsroom and don't report to newsroom leaders about what they're doing. They don't know what stories we're working on and we don't know which candidates the editorial page will endorse until we learn about them like the rest of you.

Why do we poll?

While we know many people are tired of "horse race" coverage, polls can be an important indicator of what voters think at a moment in time. They're not intended to predict what will happen, although many people interpret them that way. In any poll, not everyone is asked for their option; pollsters reach out to a representative sample of people and ask a series of questions. There's always some error inherent in any polling figure, which is why we will share how the survey was conducted, as well as the estimate for the potential error (the margin of sampling error). We will poll twice this election cycle, with our partners MPR News and KARE 11.

How do we fact-check?

Every election cycle, candidates make claims. Some are true, some mostly true, some mostly false, some entirely false. They can be misleading, incomplete or lack context. At the same time, not every allegation is a fact-checkable statement – during a campaign, people may cite something as true that's not actually provable. We consider whether a claim can be fact-checked, and also how prevalent or widespread the claim is when deciding whether to evaluate claims and highlight them in our ongoing Campaign Check series..

How do we select sources for stories?

We choose sources based on their relevance to the topic at hand, their expertise in a subject area and their lived experiences that can lend depth to a story. Star Tribune reporters have developed a vast network of sources over decades covering politics, policy and the state, but they're always cultivating new sources and striving to reach people who are often missed in traditional news coverage. When we include voices from more segments of our communities in our coverage, the result is more accurate and nuanced storytelling.

When do we use anonymous sources?

Our strong preference is to name the sources of information we publish, but sometimes there is no way to provide important information to our readers unless we grant anonymity or confidentiality to a source. You can find our guidelines in the Star Tribune's policies and standards.

Anonymous statements and quotes are published in the Star Tribune only when necessary to provide important information and only after we are satisfied that we are meeting our standards for accuracy and fairness.

Before deciding to publish anonymous information or quotes, we must be satisfied that it is not feasible to obtain the same information or quote on the record; that the news value is significant, and that we have no reason to doubt the reliability of the information. It must also be approved by a senior editor, often the managing editor or executive editor.

What questions do you have?

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