By Katie Reedy
The quadrennial U.S. presidential elections are the cornerstone of American democracy and an example for the world. The Foreign Press Centers (FPC) capitalize on this election cycle by building a year-long slate of programs for foreign journalists to investigate and participate in the dynamic, exciting, and sometimes messy process that culminates in the world’s oldest continuous democracy choosing its leader. The 2020 election cycle began in earnest in February. FPC organized a tour for 17 journalists to cover the New Hampshire presidential primary, including reporters representing outlets from China, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia, and South Korea.
With stops in Concord, Nashua, Exeter, and Manchester, N.H., the first tour of the election season included on-the-record briefings with Deputy Secretary of State of New Hampshire David Scanlan; Dante Scala, a New Hampshire primary expert from the University of New Hampshire; and a local clerk at his town’s polling station during live voting. Several journalists attended President Donald Trump’s Manchester rally, and others conducted interviews with supporters awaiting entry. The FPC team also facilitated access to campaign rallies and events hosted by Democratic primary candidates.
The tour provided first-hand insights into the mechanics behind the American democratic process to an estimated several hundred million viewers and readers around the world. This tour was to promote a better understanding of and appreciation for the United States’ open, transparent democratic process for a range of audiences from countries both democratic and not.
Further FPC Elections 2020 programming will be open to posts’ participation throughout the election season. In addition to arranging briefings by experts and filing centers at the two major party conventions this summer, the FPCs also organized a primary day program to Virginia on “Super Tuesday.” In April, they plan to cover the New York and Pennsylvania primaries. For more information about FPCs’ elections programming, please contact FPCElections@state.gov.
Katie Reedy is a media relations officer in the Bureau of Global Public Affairs New York Foreign Press Center.