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New Media Revolutionize DNC

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

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    Kane Farabaugh

    Kane Farabaugh is the Midwest Correspondent for Voice of America, where since 2008 he has established Voice of America's presence in the heartland of America.