Friday, November 17, 2017
Politics

Social media takes center stage at RNC

RECOMMENDED READING


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
As sex scandals topple the powerful: Why not Trump?

As sex scandals topple the powerful: Why not Trump?

WASHINGTON — "You can do anything," Donald Trump once boasted, speaking of groping and kissing unsuspecting women. Maybe he could, but not everyone can. The man who openly bragged about grabbing women’s private parts — but denied he really did so — w...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Allegations against Alabama’s Roy Moore dividing GOP women

Allegations against Alabama’s Roy Moore dividing GOP women

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Standing on the white marble steps of Alabama’s Capitol, Kayla Moore surrounded herself with two dozen other women Friday to defend husband Roy Moore against accusations of sexual misconduct that are dividing Republicans, and women...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Franken apologizes to woman who says he kissed, groped her

Franken apologizes to woman who says he kissed, groped her

WASHINGTON — Minnesota Sen. Al Franken personally apologized to the woman who has accused him of forcibly kissing her and groping her during a 2006 USO tour, saying he remembers their encounter differently but is "ashamed that my actions ruined that ...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Negative mailers trace back to campaign of state House candidate who denies them

Negative mailers trace back to campaign of state House candidate who denies them

An 87-year-old widow from Melbourne, a mysterious direct mail company in tiny Buffalo, Wyo., and a tangled web of political committees all were linked to the onslaught of negative mailers that helped Lawrence McClure win the Republican primary in Pla...
Updated: 27 minutes ago

10,000 more FBI records unsealed from JFK assassination files

DALLAS — Yet again, the National Archives released a trove of records from the Kennedy assassination files on a Friday afternoon, another strange stream of loose ends, dead ends and tangents with little apparent connection to the assassination of the...
Updated: 1 hour ago
William March: Why Jose Vazquez had to campaign from a prison cell

William March: Why Jose Vazquez had to campaign from a prison cell

Jose Vazquez, Democratic nominee in the Dec. 19 state House District 58 special election, doesn’t seem like a criminal. He’s 43, divorced with six children, and has worked as a security guard and in auto recycling. He was a high-level political field...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Selective outrage: Trump criticizes Franken, silent on Moore

Selective outrage: Trump criticizes Franken, silent on Moore

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is displaying selective outrage over allegations of sexual harassment against prominent men in politics, as his own tortured past lingers over his response. Trump moved quickly Thursday to condemn accusations again...
Published: 11/17/17
In struggling upstate New York cities, refugees vital to rebirth

In struggling upstate New York cities, refugees vital to rebirth

UTICA, N.Y. — Pat Marino pulled into the shop on a cold, wet Thursday and stood close as a young mechanic with gelled-up hair and earrings lifted the truck and ducked underneath."You need a little bit more oil," the mechanic said."Five quarts wasn’t ...
Published: 11/17/17
Franken draws swift condemnation in Congress after woman claims he groped her

Franken draws swift condemnation in Congress after woman claims he groped her

WASHINGTON — Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., faced swift condemnation and bipartisan calls for an ethics investigation Thursday after he was accused of forcibly kissing and groping a broadcaster and model while traveling overseas in 2006.The allegations ag...
Published: 11/16/17
Alabama GOP stands by Roy Moore; Trump declines to urge him to quit Senate race

Alabama GOP stands by Roy Moore; Trump declines to urge him to quit Senate race

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Roy Moore won a reprieve in his struggle to survive as a U.S. Senate candidate Thursday when the Alabama Republican Party affirmed it would continue backing him despite allegations that he sexually assaulted teenagers."Judge Moore ...
Published: 11/16/17