At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, we look for opportunities to take our students into the world for immersive journalism. Less than three weeks after the 2016 presidential election, we gathered a group of diverse, talented journalists to explore one big question: how Donald Trump won the rural vote and why city voter turnout was low. Both of these factors contributed to Trump defeating Hillary Clinton in the heartland. Combining three UWM classes: Television News Reporting, Integrated Reporting and News Writing and Technology, students tackled this project with passion and dedication.
We traveled to three states, focusing on the counties that flipped from Barack Obama to Donald Trump by some of the highest percentages in the country. The students created dozens of stories in three mediums: television, print/online and radio, as well as photo galleries of their subjects, a documentary, and their own reflections from the experience. Individually, each story is a fascinating glimpse into one or more voters. Combined, the work weaves a tapestry of the election across Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. We think it greatly contributes to the conversation of what happened in November, 2016 and offers insights for both Democrats and Republicans in future elections.