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Journalists from CNN and the New York Times are tag teaming this week’s Democratic debate

The moderators are Anderson Cooper, Erin Burnett, and Marc Lacey.

WarnerMedia Upfront 2019 - Arrivals
Erin Burnett of CNN’s Erin Burnett Outfront attends the WarnerMedia Upfront 2019 arrivals on the red carpet at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on May 15, 2019 in New York City. 
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for WarnerMedia
Li Zhou is a politics reporter at Vox, where she covers Congress and elections. Previously, she was a tech policy reporter at Politico and an editorial fellow at the Atlantic.

Journalists from CNN and the New York Times are slated to tag team the moderating on this week’s Democratic debate, which will air Tuesday at 8 pm ET.

CNN anchors Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett will ask questions alongside New York Times national editor Marc Lacey as 12 candidates take the stage at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. The debate will be broadcast on CNN and is set to be the most crowded one yet.

The Times’ involvement on Tuesday is significant: The publication hasn’t held a presidential debate in over a decade. Given upcoming changes in DNC debate qualifications, the fourth debate also presents a last-ditch opportunity for some lower-tier candidates to have a breakout moment. To qualify this time around, the candidates needed to hit at least a 2 percent polling threshold in four DNC-approved polls and rake in donations from 130,000 people. (November’s debate qualifications are much stricter and so far only eight candidates have made the cut.)

The three moderators for the debate all cover national politics in different capacities and will be central to steering the conversation on a very crowded stage:

  • Anderson Cooper anchors Anderson Cooper 360, a daily CNN news program.
  • Erin Burnett anchors Erin Burnett OutFront, a daily CNN news program.
  • Marc Lacey is the National editor at the Times, overseeing the paper’s correspondents across the country.

The Democratic National Committee is making a concerted effort to increase the diversity of debate moderators

The Democratic National Committee has made a commitment to increasing the diversity of debate moderators this cycle and agreed to include at least one person of color and one woman in every debate.

Given how historically white and male the debate space has been, greater diversity among moderators has been a priority for advocacy groups, including NARAL, Emily’s List, and Color of Change.

In an open letter this spring, the groups urged media outlets and other organizations to ensure that at least 50 percent of the moderators running the debates would be women and at least 50 percent would be people of color. UltraViolet Action, an organization dedicated to gender equity, spearheaded the letter, which also called out sexism in political media coverage writ large.

Thus far, the DNC has lived up to its pledge.

During the June debates in Miami, four of the five moderators involved were women or people of color and just one was a white man. During the July debates in Detroit, the moderators included an African American reporter and a woman. And during the September debates in Houston, two moderators were people of color and one was a woman.

Tuesday’s debate will continue that trend: Of the three moderators, one is a person of color and one is a woman.

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