Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Campaign Message Control Tough in the Twitter Age

The days when a political campaign could control its message by catering to the journalist "boys on the bus," with handouts, press briefings and prepared sound bites, has vanished. Now every campaign must face a blogging, tweeting, sharing mass of professional and self-appointed reporters everywhere, all the time -- which makes it hard to sustain a controlled narrative. A recent New York Times article sums up: "Because of the relentlessness of the schedule, the limited access and the multi-platform demands, many of the boys and girls on the bus are in fact boys and girls. And the bus they ride is Twitter." The media has become "one giant, tweeting blob," in the words of Peter Hamby, a political reporter at CNN. "With Instagram and Twitter-primed iPhones, an ever more youthful press corps, and a journalistic reward structure in Washington that often prizes speed and scoops over context, campaigns are increasingly fearful of the reporters who cover them," Hamby wrote in a report quoted by the NYT story. Mitt Romney's campaign failed to handle this social media-driven journalism by trying to fence off the candidate and alienating the young, inexperienced reporter "embeds." The Obama campaign did better with a proactive social-media-attuned approach. It's an important lesson for campaign marketers looking to the next elections. For the rest of the story, see http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/02/business/media/campaign-journalism-in-the-age-of-twitter.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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