Sunday, May 20, 2018
Politics

Social media takes center stage at RNC

For CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, the promise of social media's impact on coverage of the Republican National Convention is simple:

It can turn reporting the news into a conversation.

"Very often, I'll get a tweet from somebody who (notes a mistake) ... and I'll correct it right away," said Blitzer, who wasn't even on Twitter during the 2008 RNC and now has 540,000 followers. "I know it will change our coverage in Tampa."

That's the kind of interaction a host of technology companies, media outlets and even convention organizers expect at the RNC; leveraging a host of social media platforms to place huge chunks of what happens here online.

Yahoo! has teamed with ABC News on live convention coverage streamed online. Facebook has a team roaming the convention to help people upload content, releasing a voting app developed with CNN.

As the official social media platform for the RNC, Google will livestream all podium speeches in prime time and organize "hangouts" on its Google+ service where analysts, politicians and journalist can talk to the public.

And every media outlet here has its own array of platforms, raising the question: How will the first political convention of the social media age be different than what came before?

"It's just not sufficient for most users to passively take in material anymore," said David Chalian, Washington bureau chief for Yahoo! "They want to participate."

The RNC itself set the tone, dubbing its gathering a "convention without walls," using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Linkedin, Foursquare and more to bring well-managed content outside of the event halls, receptions and panel discussions.

But for a political party bent on delivering a single, powerful message, it could be a nightmare; 50,000 attendees and 15,000 journalists each carrying a smartphone, ready for the slightest gaffe.

"In the Olympics, we saw the #NBCfail hashtag created right after the opening ceremonies," said Lou Ferrara, managing editor at the Associated Press.

Could there be an #RNCfail created here? "Probably not ... but we can't predict what the masses will say," Ferrara said.

In an RNC first, convention organizers have created a social media "war room" of sorts staffed by 16 people in the Tampa Convention Center, examining social media platforms and providing content.

There's also a digital media "green room" planned near the convention stage, where speakers can post to Twitter or Facebook, conduct interviews on Skype, take photos or conduct Google hangouts before, during or after speeches.

"We wanted to leverage the technologies so every American anywhere could be a part of this," said James Davis, director of communications for the RNC. "We're building a community online that allows us to amplify the convention."

Still, despite the risks, some experts say the GOP will remain firmly in control of their message.

"I think we'll hear a lot about certain moments that light up the social media space," Yahoo!'s Chalian said. "But I don't think it will alter the news of the convention, unless something seriously goes awry ... like a hurricane."

Comments
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

WASHINGTON - China offered to boost its annual purchases of U.S. products by "at least $200 billion" Friday as two days of talks aimed at averting an open breach between the two countries ended in Washington, a top White House adviser said.Larry Kudl...
Published: 05/19/18
Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

TAMPA — A concert organizer is accusing Hillsborough County Commission candidate Elvis Piggott of falsifying a contract and prompting the headline act to pull out of a gospel show.In a lawsuit filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Corey Curry claims h...
Published: 05/18/18
Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Gina Haspel as the next CIA director after several Democrats were persuaded to support her despite lingering concerns about her role in the brutal interrogation of suspected terrorists captured after ...
Published: 05/17/18
GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

WASHINGTON — Republicans are pushing for a speedy confirmation vote as early as Thursday after the Senate intelligence committee endorsed President Donald Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel to lead the spy agency. But opponents concerned about Haspel’s ...
Published: 05/16/18
Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

WASHINGTON - The Senate Intelligence Committee moved Wednesday to recommend Gina Haspel for CIA director, setting up a floor vote that her opponents say will signal to the world whether the United States condemns or condones torture.The committee vot...
Published: 05/16/18
Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

In Hillsborough County — where one of the world’s largest Confederate flags still flies near a busy interstate — you may not be surprised to learn there’s an Uncle Tom Road.The name is a flash point and a slur, shorthand for a black person who will d...
Published: 05/16/18
Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

With six months to go before the Nov. 6 election, Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell on Monday dropped her bid against Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard for the at-large District 2 seat.Caudell said she decided she’d better be better suited f...
Published: 05/14/18
Romano: Hey Gov. Scott, could you hire me, too?

Romano: Hey Gov. Scott, could you hire me, too?

To: The Honorable Gov. Rick ScottDear Governor,It has come to my attention that your administration has recently made some, dare I say, innovative hires for important government positions in the months before you leave office.At the risk of sounding ...
Published: 05/14/18
‘Not a racially motivated issue’: N.C. mayor defends violent arrest of black man at Waffle House

‘Not a racially motivated issue’: N.C. mayor defends violent arrest of black man at Waffle House

The mayor of the North Carolina town where a 22-year-old black man’s violent arrest in a Waffle House has drawn wide scrutiny and prompted an internal investigation defended the police in a video he posted Friday."This is not a racially motivated iss...
Published: 05/12/18