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The US is a great source of inspiration when it comes to local news. In this new podcast series, we are taking a look at smart and experimental stateside newsrooms and their approaches to revenue models, audience engagement and newsgathering processes.

In this week's podcast, we turn our attention to Richland Source as it gears up for the second iteration of its Talk The Vote initiative, which we first covered back in 2019.

In a bid to avoid horserace political journalism - who is leading, who is not - the hyperlocal news organisation based in Mansfield, Ohio, is once again taking steps to listen to the concerns of local voters, and in doing so, increase community engagement in the constituency.

It does this by setting up community events in each of the six wards where councillors are standing for election with a simple question on the agenda: what should candidates be talking about as they compete for your vote?

City editor Carl Hunnell reflects on the changes they are making this time around considering the impact of covid-19, and what did - and did not - work last time. Plus, there is practical advice on how you can implement this in your local area, including what to look for in a chosen venue, how to moderate discussions and why pizza never hurts.

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