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The Care and Nurturing of the News Media

In a recent small campaign, I worked with two political consultants who had few expectations from the campaign website. We entered the campaign approximately sixty (60) days before the election. We threw up a basic website in less than a week. The consultants, who are primarily experts in grassroots organizing and direct mail, essentially wanted me to build an online media center to provide the local news media with information concerning the campaign.

In this campaign, the political consultants represented disparate interests seeking to defeat a sales tax increase for transit improvements. The local council of governments organization and the development interests solidly supported the transit tax increase. The environmentalists and the local homeowners along with the conservative antitax groups opposed the amendment.

While the local news media supported the transit proposal, the website gave my clients credibility and legitimacy. In various contacts with local people, the reporters continually talked about our website. The information on the website shaped the arguments in the local newspaper concerning the initiative.

The Media Center provides the campaign with a central point for the media to find the information that they need to report on the campaign. It should contain all of the campaign's news releases, background papers, and other information concerning the campaign. It should provide thumbnail photographs with links to high quality photographic images (jpgs) which are suitable for reprorduction. If it belongs in the media kit in belongs on the website.

The online media center should contain speeches and statements from the candidate or campaign spokesperson in a variety of forms. While the full length speech can be provided as a video (avi) and/or audio file (mp3), the campaign should provide high quality actualities suitable for downloading and broadcasting (wav). You want to make it easy for the news media to report on your campaign.

You want to make it easy for the news media to report on your campaign. You want them to hear and see your side of the story, and you want your side of the story to be the reporters focus. However, unless you provide them with your side of the story, reporters are unlikely to have the time to go dig out the facts by themselves.

 

May 20, 2008