New Media Revolutionize DNC

Kane Farabaugh
Democrats assembled in Charlotte, North Carolina to nominate President Barack Obama for a second term promised the event will be the “most open and accessible convention in history.”  That is being made possible in part by the contributions of new media producers who are providing content to new audiences online.

An experiment, known as the "PPL", is under the direction of Bruce Clark.  He describes it as an alternative newsroom of sorts for the kind of media that either can’t afford, or can’t get into, traditional media spaces at the Democratic National Convention.

“To juxtapose that against all the digital content creators, all the future of media, has been quite an interesting experiment," Clark explains.  “The digital age has allowed us to tear down a lot of walls and allow access to folks who generally wouldn’t have access to information.”

Those folks, working in a room just a few blocks from the convention, include bloggers, Instagrammers, Tweeters and independent filmmakers like Tim Grant.

"New media has changed convention coverage just by the scope of the coverage," Grant says.  "The ability to tweet what you see, you know, take a picture at any moment.  It’s so broad now.  You can type in hash tag DNC and you’re getting a hundred new tweets every other minute.”

During the first night of the DNC, that figure was not in the hundreds, but in the thousands, setting new records, according to Twitter’s Adam Sharp.

“Before Michelle Obama had even started her speech, she had broken the record for the Republican convention," Sharp notes. "Finishes her speech at 28,000 tweets per minute.  Almost exactly double Mitt Romney, and interesting enough, double her husband’s performance at the State of the Union earlier this year.”

Sharp says the online service Twitter, which allows users to send and read text-based messages, has changed the way politicians, reporters, and content producers reach audiences.

“We’ve moved from a 24-hour news cycle to a 140-character one,” Sharp says.

But while filmmaker Tim Grant welcomes the access, and the flood of options to get his online news that comes from it, he says there is a downside.

“The filter is gone, and in some ways I think that hurts, because you don’t know what to look for," he says. "You don’t know what to trust in some cases.  But I think that if you really wanted to find something out, you have the access now, you don’t have to depend on just a handful of networks.”

Those networks now have to compete with new media producers who can reach audiences at a fraction of the cost.

Photo Gallery: 2012 Democratic National Convention

  • President Barack Obama waves after his speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 6, 2012.
  • Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama wave to the delegates at the conclusion of President Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention, September 6, 2012.
  • President Barack Obama and First lady Michelle Obama joined by their children Sasha, left, and Malia walks across the stage after President Obama's speech to the Democratic National Convention.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama (L) embraces former President Bill Clinton onstage after Clinton nominated Obama for re-election during the second session of Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 5, 2012
  • U.S. President Barack Obama (L) joins former President Bill Clinton onstage after Clinton nominated Obama for re-election during the second session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 5, 2012.
  • Former President Bill Clinton addresses the Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, North Carolina, September 5, 2012
  • First Lady Michelle Obama waves after addressing the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 3, 2012.
  • Delegates cheer as First lady Michelle Obama addresses the Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, North Carolina, September 4, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
  • Delegates recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the opening of the Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, North Carolina, September 4, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
  • A woman records the invocation at the Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, North Carolina, September 4, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
  • Delegates await the start of the first day of the convention, September 4, 2012.
  • A group of third grade students rehearse saying the Pledge of Allegiance ahead of the first day of the convention in Time Warner Cable Arena, September 4, 2012.
  • Advertisements for the DNC line the walls at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
  • Protesters block an intersection near the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina for several hours while surrounded by police who allow the demonstration to continue, September 4, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
  • Delegates tour the floor ahead of the convention, September 3, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
  • Programs laid out for guests inside the convention center. (J. Featherly/VOA)
  • The Charlotte, North Carolina skyline seen through the window of an airplane, September 2, 2012.
  • President Barack Obama's campaign manager Jim Messina tours the floor at the Democratic National Convention, September 3, 2012.
  • Delegates and Democratic National Convention visitors crowd one of the merchandise stores in Charlotte, September 3, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
  • Delegates await the start of the first day of the Democratic National Convention, September 4, 2012.
  • A 15-ton sand sculpture of President Obama is on display outside the convention. The sand comes from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. (J. Featherly/VOA)
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Chris Cassidy from: Washington, DC
September 07, 2012 6:42 PM
The discussion of The PPL in the article is the same kind of surface-level investigation that lead me to spend $80 for access and wifi there this week. I also convinced a small handful of friends to spend $125 each (for late-registration.)

We were very disappointed to find that The PPL fell down on its most fundamental job (besides protecting us from the rain, I suppose.) The wifi at The PPL was utterly unworkable all week long.

I was embarrassed to have wasted my money and my friends' money trusting these folks, but I swallowed my pride to reach out for an explanation and/or reimbursement. I spoke with leadership at The PPL in person and sent two emails, but didn't receive so much as a reply, let alone an apology or the money we deserve back.

It's really too bad. At best, this place was an entrepreneurial disaster run by well-intentioned folk ill-equipped to deal with their surprising failure. Without even the courtesy of an acknowledgement that they fell down on the job, however, it seems less innocuous than that.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs