Election Media Coverage Goes Digital

Any student in public relations knows, or should know, how important it is to keep up with news. So in the face of a current election year, it is that much more important to be in the know. Some students, maybe even professionals, may have found it hard to keep up with every single aspect of past political campaigns; however, in this “age of technology,” it is easier than ever.

Using the power of new media during a political campaign is not a new tactic; you may recall when CNN and YouTube held a joint debate in which the public sent in videotaped questions. Politicians have since caught up on the trend, using outlets like Twitter and Facebook to be engaged with the public 24/7. This election season, not only have politicians been deploying digital tools in new and innovative ways, the media outlets and journalists covering them have been doing the same.

Besides individual journalists and news outlets tweeting and uploading photos, the 2012 battle for the White House is the first time that web apps dedicated to political coverage have been introduced. These new and innovative apps are allowing readers to have unprecedented access to all things related to the election. Online features such as these are changing the name of the game in political journalism.

Here are a few other ways in which media coverage of the election is going digital:

1. Election Centers: Major news sites like CNN, MSNBC and Fox are featuring online election portals in which visitors can learn about the candidates and their stances on the issues that matter, access links to candidates’ social media profiles or find out more about their financial backers.

2. Interactive Maps: NBC has actually teamed up with Foursquare to map the campaign trail. Other news sites like CNN are offering calendar like maps to show visitors where and when upcoming primaries and caucuses are being held. Politico actually takes this map concept a step further by telling visitors not only where, but why candidates are doing particular events.

3. Social Debates: This idea isn’t new for 2012, but it has become more mainstream. Fox News used to Twitter to get instant opinions from the public on each candidate’s performance in a debate. Facebook and NBC teamed up to co-host a Republican debate in which viewers asked questions via the social networking site.

Have you seen other unique digital tools used in this year’s political campaign? Or, do you find one of these tools extremely beneficial? If so, let us know!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Kaitlyn Sutton.

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