How well-informed were you on election day? Topics Of Election 2012 Coverage

Posted November 19th, 2012 in Politics by davecopeland

I’m prepping a class for late on today about the difference between social and mainstream media coverage of the election, and found some interesting tidbits in this Pew study.

In the eight weeks the study covered:

  • The economy accounted for 10% of election coverage
  • The Benghazi attack accounted for 5% of election coverage
  • Healthcare accounted for less than 1% of election coverage
  • Abortion and gay rights combined accounted for less than 1% of election coverage
  • Iraq and Afghanistan combined accounted for less than 1% of election coverage

Also widely missing from 2012 election coverage in the crucial weeks leading up to election day: China and the fiscal cliff.

Beyond that, horse race coverage, which pulls good ratings on television but does little in offering voters substantive insight on the candidates and their positions, made up about 40% of the coverage in the study period.

Another interesting tidbit about tone:

So how well-informed were you on election day?

Do You Know The Candidates As Well As They Know You? Probably Not, Thanks To Big Data

Posted November 3rd, 2012 in Politics by davecopeland

The unprecedented spending spending on the 2012 presidential campaign includes millions of dollars to track voters online. What do the campaigns know about you, how much did they pay to get it, and what will they do with that information come Wednesday morning? Continue Reading »

Can Supporting A Candidate Online Hurt Them At The Polls?

Posted October 22nd, 2012 in Politics by davecopeland

Will posting Facebook status updates and Twitter messages supporting your favorite candidate help him or hurt him on election day? The answer may not be as simple as it seems.

If you missed last week’s debate and logged onto Facebook Wednesday morning looking to find out what you missed, your take on who won and what happened would have been come, by and large, from the partisan point of view of your friends:

That’s homophily, or the idea that we tend to cluster with like-minded people. By nature, our social networks are polarizing so such messages usually serve to reinforce our own point of view. Facebook, in other words, isn’t necessarily the place to go for a thoughtful exchange on differing points of view.

Sociologists and political scientists will be closely watching the 2012 presidential election, as it presents another data set in the young field of studying how social media impacts voting rates. The only clear message now is nothing is clear, and what you post on Facebook on election day may – or may not – play a role in the outcome. Continue Reading »

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I’m not in Kenmore chanting USA, either

Posted May 2nd, 2011 in Journalism, Newyork, Politics, pop culture, Social Networking by Muhammad84G

Outside Kelly’s Diner in Somerville this morning there were no chants of “U.S.A.,” no refrains of “Nah-nah-nah-nah, Nah-nah-nah-nah, hey-hey, good bye,” and no people spilling onto Broadway and blocking traffic. There were just two newspaper boxes – the Boston Herald declaring “DEAD!” and the Boston Globe more soberly proclaiming “BIN LADEN DEAD” – all caps, yes, but saving ink by dropping the exclamation point.

From a booth along the window we watched people who passed by and stopped to scan each front page. The people heading to the bus stop or the place down the street that sells significantly better coffee than Kelly’s did not pump their fists or even offer broad smiles. There was certainly more curiosity than if the headlines had something to do with, say, the latest development in the DiMasi trial. But the collective reaction was not like the scenes that played out last night at Ground Zero, in front of the White House or in Kenmore Square last night where thousands of people gathered to celebrate.

Even the deejay on the oldies radio station playing inside Kelly’s was more excited than the people we saw outside the window on the sidewalk, soliciting opinions about U.S. security policy going forward from the traffic reporter then using the joyous occasion to play – predictably – “Proud To Be An American.” Idiots I once knew posted messages of triumph on Facebook and anyone who dared feel a little queasy about celebrating a false victory in a war that will never end got a Tweet-down.

As a journalist who started to lose his taste for daily news coverage on 9/11/01 when I watched one too many colleagues view the events of that day not as the national tragedy that it was but as a chance to make their career and argue over who would get to travel to New York and Washington, D.C. to spearhead coverage, I found it a time for reflection.
Continue Reading »

Kennedy Library Forum: A Conversation with Charlie Gibson

Posted December 13th, 2010 in Boston, Journalism, Politics by Muhammad84G

This is a relatively decent recording of former ABC World News and Good Morning America anchor Charles Gibson’s talk at the Kennedy Library last Thursday (I used a hand-held digital recorder). The discussion was moderated by Callie Crossley of WGBH.

You’ll need Windows Media Player to listen to the file, which is about 25 MB. The program is an hour and 45 minutes but he raises lots of great points and observations about politics, journalism and where the two collide.

Audio: Independent Gubernatorial Candidate Tim Cahill Speaks At Bridgewater State University

Posted September 22nd, 2010 in Massachusetts, Politics, Technology by Muhammad84G

Bridgewater State University has invited all four Massachusetts gubernatorial candidates to speak to students. State Treasurer and Independent candidate Tim Cahill was first up and spoke at 2 pm.

You can download to the 55-minute audio recording (.WMA format) here.

My original plan was to play with a digital voice recorder I was recently given and the VoiceBase site I wrote about yesterday. The Olympus recorder worked well — even great — and I’m super happy I was given not one but two of them.

VoiceBase, however, sucked. A short test file I uploaded never showed up on the site and when I tried to upload the longer Cahill file, it kept giving me error messages. LocalHostr, which I have been using a lot lately, is raw and simple and has its limitations, but sometime simple is more efficient.

Travels Without Charley

Posted September 21st, 2010 in Friends, Pittsburgh, Politics, Travel by Muhammad84G

Bill Steigerwald, my former colleague and frequent lunch buddy in Pittsburgh, is setting out to “retrace the iconic road trip (John) Steinbeck made in the fall of 1960 and turned into his 1962 nonfiction bestseller ‘Travels With Charley’” — without the dog. He’s writing about it on a blog for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and says along the way he’ll “be conducting the first-ever and last-ever totally unscientific Steinbeck Poll to take the political pulse of the country.

“If you want the objective reporting of a veteran newspaper reporter/opinion writer who dislikes Republicans as much as Democrats, or if you want a local dateline if Yellowstone Park blows up next month, you know where to find me – Travels Without Charley.”

Bill is a keen observer, a political free-thinker and, best of all, a gifted reporter and writer. I haven’t been this excited about reading a blog — and a quasi-political blog at that — in quite some time. Disclaimer: I should also say I’m massively biased because Bill had a huge influence on my career and gave me the best career advice I ever got when it came to trying to muck my way through life as a staff reporter for a dead-tree publication: “Get out. Now. Go write books and movies.”

A Journalist Who Doesn’t Trust Journalists

Posted September 14th, 2010 in Journalism, Politics by Muhammad84G

Time magazine political columnist Joe Klein embarks on a cross-country road trip to see if voters are as angry as polls and the media would have us believe:

“I’m spending the month of September on the road, driving my way across the country diagonally, from New York City to Los Angeles, because I really don’t trust the things I’ve been seeing on TV and reading in the papers. Yes, you can find angry people right now. A lot of lives have been ripped up by the economic devastation of recent years; a smaller number of families have been eviscerated by war. But this is a complicated country, more complicated than any collection of sound bites. I’d like to find out what people actually know about the problems we’re facing and how they get their news.”

I’m not all that interested in midterm elections, but I actually like this idea: journalism as it was meant to be done instead of the quote shopping it has so often become.

“I’m not looking to prognosticate. I know what the polls are saying; it’s going to be a big Republican year. But I’m not going to do what journalists, myself included, often do: troll for quotes that reflect the polls. I’m just going to report what I see — in greater detail on — and let the chips fall.”

This could be insightful and informative, or it could be routine and self-indulgent. It will be interesting to see how it plays out in the coming weeks.

9/11 + 9

Posted September 11th, 2010 in Politics, Random by Muhammad84G

This blog, in some ways, owes its very existence to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and I’m thinking about the ninth anniversary not because there’s a lot of media coverage about it on this Saturday morning but because the weather in Boston is eerily similar today to what it was through much of the northeast, including Pittsburgh, where I was living, nine years ago.

It’s almost like we’re taking a collective breather; next year the tenth anniversary falls on a Sunday — the big banner year will coincide nicely with big, fat, Sunday newspapers. Even though they’re just numbers, journalists love anniversaries that come in intervals of five; in 2006 I noted the coverage was “verging on overkill.”
Continue Reading »

Is a Clemens autograph worth more or less if he goes to jail?

Posted August 20th, 2010 in baseball, Politics by Muhammad84G

I agree with everything Mark says about Roger Clemens being indicted:

And after that, when he finally dies and goes to hell, he will be sentenced to a demon shoving a pineapple up his ass every day for all eternity — for the crime of wearing pinstripes after being a member of the Red Sox. Yeah, fuck you too, Johnny Damon.

But I also agree with what Clint, one of the people who left a comment on his post, had to say:

Why is congress even involved? This is government overreach. I don’t care if using steroids (honestly, baseball needs anything it can get to make it interesting) breaks the rules — since when is it’s congress’s business anyway?

Can someone who pays more attention to this stuff than I do correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t this the same set of hearings that were preceded by Clemens wandering through Congressional offices, signing autographs and posing for pictures for lawmakers and staffers? Thou shalt not lie, true, and thou shall never, ever, make excuses for Roger Clemens. But I do remember a carnival-like atmosphere surrounding those hearings, so I can’t say I’m surprised Clemens treated the whole thing as a joke.

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