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Merrill College

Merrill College’s Local News Network Publishes First Project: 2022 Maryland School Board Election Voter Guide 

COLLEGE PARK — The Local News Network at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, a new initiative launched during the Fall 2022 semester, on Tuesday published its first project, a voter guide to every school board election in Maryland.

The Local News Network (@LNNMaryland on Twitter) surveyed 155 candidates, 102 of which responded. All 102 Q&As, organized by Maryland county, were published on the Capital News Service website. The network also published its first of several planned stories regarding trends in the survey responses — the first finding that pandemic-related learning loss and other academic concerns were listed as more important to candidates than such hot-button issues as teaching critical race theory.

The network enlisted the help of 96 students in Merrill College’s undergraduate and graduate midlevel reporting classes to personally contact, and in some cases interview the candidates. 

“This project stems from conversations I had over the summer with editors at Adams Publishing Group, which has daily and weekly papers across Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore,” said Lecturer Jerry Zremski, who leads the Local News Network. “They noted that it would be helpful to news organizations for there to be a comprehensive look at school board candidates in a year when so many of those races are closely fought.”

Students in Zremski’s midlevel reporting class are writing the companion stories.

Capital News Service, the college’s student-powered news organization, will distribute the voter guide and companion stories. Several partners of the Local News Network plan to republish Q&As relevant to their local audiences.

The Q&As and companion stories are available for republication free of charge to any Maryland news organization. For more information, contact Zremski at

“The Local News Network was created to serve news organizations across Maryland, and we’re hoping that many news outlets will partner with us to help inform voters about these important upcoming school board races,” Zremski said.

The Local News Network was established by an anchor commitment from the Andy and Julie Klingenstein Family Fund. The network includes a local news collaborative and an internship program.

The local news collaborative will team Merrill College with news media in Maryland, providing experience for students through a midlevel reporting and writing class focused on local beat reporting while offering supplemental reporting for news organizations in Maryland. 

The local news internship program will offer stipends for select students each summer to intern at a news outlet whose coverage and audience is predominantly local.

For more information, contact:
Josh Land

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