August 27, 2019 VA onAir Update

August 20, 2019 VA onAir Update

Summary

This post, my initial update post as Democracy onAir Executive Director, focuses on Virginia onAir – our model state elections and governance Hub created and managed by GMU alumni and students and curated by Virginia students throughout the state.

We welcome your feedback, suggestions, and donations to assist us in establishing the Virginia onAir Hub as the first of many go-to elections and governance Hubs.

Thank you in advance for your contributions.

Tim O’Shea – tim.oshea@onair.cc

Recent Developments

In anticipation of our official soft launch on September 19th, Democracy onAir has made important strides forward to make sure that Virginia onAir is the best elections and governance information resource in the state come election time.

  • We have formed our founding team of student Directors including: Adia McLaughlin, Chapter Director; Ny-Jhee Jones, Media Director; Katlyn Weiser, Outreach Director; and Yasmin Jaramillo, Curation Director.  Our Directors are supported by my Chief of Staff, Nader Momtaz and interns to help bolster our efforts in business development, outreach, and content generation, including 3 interns from the Schar School’s prestigious Global Politics Fellows program.
  • We have completed assembling the most comprehensive, publicly available information on candidates running for office on November 5, 2019 – Virginia State Senate (68) and Virginia State House (173) .  On the Virginia onAir Hub, we have also organized posts on all current senate and house representatives within one of five regions- Northern Virginia, Central Virginia, Southwestern Virginia, South Central Virginia, and Southeastern Virginia.
  • We have started curating numerous Northern Virginia candidate and politician posts and plan to conduct video interviews with as many of them as we can.

Advisory Board

Democracy onAir has expanded its Advisory Board to include 3 new members:

  • Jeff Wilklow, Vice President of Campbell & Company and member and former President of the Metro Association of Fundraising Professionals
  • Jeff South, Associate Professor of Journalism at Virginia Commonwealth University, Director of Undergraduate Studies and the Capital News Service at the Robertson School of Media and Culture
  • Jennifer Victor, Associate Professor at GMU’s Schar School Policy and Government and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Political Networks

Partnerships

Our GMU chapter is partnering with the Honors College to help freshmen Honors College students get fast-tracked into Curation roles through an event on October 25th called “Democracy onAir: Bringing state politics into the 21st century.”

OnAir Networks, led by GMU alumnus Todd Gillette, is providing the software, support, and technical development in order to build the Hub in anticipation of our launch. OnAir Networks is creating a framework with the Volgenau School of Engineering to provide students access to OSCAR projects, internships, and capstone projects through assistance in developing more comprehensive features for the Hub.

We’ve also reached an arrangement with LegiNation in order to integrate their BillTrack50 data feeds into our politician profiles.

September-October Plans

This Fall, we will be taking on a number of important projects to serve the mission of Virginia onAir and Democracy onAir.

  • We are supporting GMU’s student government’s Candidate Day at the GMU Fairfax campus for the Mason community and the general public to engage with Northern Virginia candidates running for local and state offices ;
  • We are recruiting more Hub Curators and establishing new onAir chapters at VCU, UVA, Virginia Tech, and William & Mary in addition to our founding GMU onAir Chapter;
  • We are developing with OnAir Networks and interns from the GGS Department at the GMU College of Science, interactive maps of Virginia state legislative districts to better allow voters to visualize and understand our state’s politics. These maps will be similar to the US House interactive district maps on the Hub home page; and
  • We are developing our 2020 rollout strategy for deploying Election and Governance Hubs for other key states throughout the country
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