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Election year: newspapers prepare for the big stories

Election year: newspapers prepare for the big stories

2012 is presidential election year in the US and election fever has already started.
Starting with the caucases, continuing with the primaries and with their eyes already on the presidential race ending in November 2012, newspapers are getting ready.

"Election coverage is bigger than any one newsroom" so the right approach should be teaming up to be able to assure the coverage is as wide and accurate as possible, some believe. Or at least this is what NBC News and Newsweek/Daily Beast have decided to do in view of the upcoming presidential battle. Shared content will appear on the Newsweek pages and online on The Daily Beast.

The decision isn't surprising in itself, Justin Ellis wrote on NiemanLab. Double the resources, double the coverage, double the audience. Also, he explains, looking back to past electoral experience, this is not even new, quoting as examples the Times and CBS News or ABC News and The Washington Post partnering on polls.

Public debates, polls, endorsements, declarations to fact-check, skeletons in the cupboards to disclose, released on blogs, newspapers, social networks, TV shows: there is an increasing tide of news and potential scoops and these need extraordinary resources devoted to them. Collaborations amongst newsrooms could be therefore a good solution.

What Ellis argues that is interesting regarding upcoming collaboration is that they involve cross-media competitors, as nowadays everyone is publishing on the same multimedia platforms.

It will be interesting to see which form these partnerships will take after the electoral period. Also, the underlying tension between the journalist's desire for exclusivity and the brand's desire to aggregate content will be something to keep watching from here to election day, Ellis concludes.

Not just partnerships are on the agenda as multimedia technologies offer new possibilities to develop special elections packaging delivered on new devices. First and foremost: tablets.

The Economist Group has announced the launch of Electionism, a free HTML5 application for tablets only focused on the US election, a press release reported.
The web app will combine content from The Economist and the niche sister publication Roll Call and through the aggregation of content shared on Facebook and Twitter - paidContent described it as a "Flipboard-like app" - will allow readers to interact and engage in conversations around the elections.

Electionism, which has been created by the internal product innovation group The Economist Group Media Lab, runs on the iPad, the Samsung Galaxy and the Kindle Fire and it will be soon available on the Blackberry Playbook, the company said.

New technologies and new journalistic approaches make also possible innovative ways to cover the complexities behind electoral systems.

The Guardian, for example developed a map on its datajournalism website to display how the UK would have looked if the 2010 election had been fought with the new constituencies and last year ProPublica released a music video to tell the investigative story about how secret interests and money influenced the redistricting having as a result that "instead of voters choosing politicians, redistricting at its worst lets politicians choose voters".

Sources: paidContent, NiemanLab, The Daily Beast, The Guardian, ProPublica (1), (2)



Federica Cherubini


2012-01-11 18:32

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