Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy Makes Waves on ABC World News

Jillian Bloemer

As Hurricane Sandy has grown in magnitude, so has its presence on social media. It is clear that over the past week or two, news of the hurricane has strongly overpowered news of the presidential election on the ABC World News with Diane Sawyer Facebook page. News of the presidential election has been low as this news source seems very geared toward keeping its followers updated on everything Sandy-related. Their page is cluttered with stories about the many canceled flights, tips on how to track Sandy's path and links to pictures of her destruction on their website and ways to donate.

One of the more powerful photos that has been getting a lot of attention was a picture of Spc. Brett Hyde, Tomb Sentinel, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) who continued to keep watch over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, despite Sandy's constant downpour.

In addition to this photo shared by ABC (left), I have seen similar photos of the Tomb's Honor Guard circulating throughout social media sites. Similar images (below) are quite powerful and are provoking captions like "Soldiers: 1. Sandy: 0."

It's apparent that much of what has been going on with the election has been put on hold while the country prepares & prays for those who will be affected by the destruciton that Hurricane Sandy is sure to bring.

Sandy Commands the Stage

by Sara Nealeigh

Hurricane Sandy has taken center stage.

Not only is she currently doing a dangerous dance over eastern coast, but she has made herself comfortable in the spotlight of the front page of the ABC News website.

A majority of the articles on not only their main page, but also on their politics page, talk about the impacts Sandy will have.

But what will it impact more: the east coast, or the election?

ABC's Politics has posted an article about how the hurricane's path has changed the campaign trail, forcing candidates to change travel plans, and how President Obama is changing his focus from the election to Sandy.

Screen shot of homepage
ABC's main page is flooded (literally) with pictures and stories covering Sandy and how she has and will continue to take a toll on east coast cities. There is also a live news feed on the top of the page, tracking the storm throughout the day.

With Sandy demanding so much of the attention of national media, I also wonder how will local ABC stations handle the constant flow of information from both the hurricane and campaign trail?

WJLA, an ABC station in Washington D.C., shows little to no sign of election coverage. Being in the direct path of Sandy's wrath, that almost makes sense. But they are also the political capital of the nation, and nothing about the election is mentioned until a small politics tab about a quarter of the way down their homepage.

The majority of their front page stories are weather related as well.

KGO broadcasts to the Bay Area of California, which includes cities like San Francisco, election coverage is nowhere to be found. Their main page consists of Sandy, the Giants new World Series title, and area Halloween events.

Screenshot: WLS (Chicago) homepage
In Chicago, WLS's homepage is eerily similar to KGO's, with no election coverage on the main page. It's only after venturing into their politics tab that one finds national's headlines and some local election stories.

It seems that most local and national coverage is focused on the potential natural disaster, as it should be, but the attention on the election is not completely lost.

Sandy Puts Election On the Back Burner

Devin Bartolotta

There's finally something new to read in the news, as Hurricane Sandy has quite literally taken America by storm. So the election has been put on the back burner temporarily. Hurricane Sandy has definitely thrown both campaigns for a loop, impacting early voting all over the eastern half of the United States. Maryland has stopped early voting early this week because of the storms and storms all over will impeded rallies in important states.

While most news stations, FOX included, have used most of their resources to cover Hurricane Sandy instead of the election, FOX News seems to have taken the jump on not only covering Sandy, but how it is impacting the election for both candidates.

 In this photo, from's radar, it's obvious that many critical swing states like Ohio, North Carolina, Maryland, and New York fall underneath Sandy's wrath.

In the last few days, polls have shown Obama and Romney are tied in Ohio, increasing just how critical this week before the election is for both campaigns.

 President Obama has canceled appearances in Virginia and Colorado already in light of the "Frankenstorm," which will impact thousands of voters across the US.

As the storm hits, I expect FOX to be covering more of how voters are effected by closed polls, evacuations, and lack of transportation to voting booths. Regardless of how Sandy will change campaign efforts for the next few days, it's safe to say that our news intake will definitely change temporarily.

Election Time Clearly Getting Close at NBC

Carolyn Menyes

 Well, it's been a few weeks since I've watched and analyzed NBC Nightly News, and my how the tables have turned.

Previously, I remember there being a segment or two during every show about the election, be it about the horse race, the tactics of the election or the controversies that each candidate found himself in. Despite the variety in coverage, NBC Nightly News at least acknowledged there were other news stories in the country. But last week? Not so much.

For example, Wednesday night's program literally dedicated half its time to the upcoming election. By, say, September's standards, this episode had a whole week's worth of election coverage. Most of the packages focused on the campaigning efforts of President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, with both men increasing the amount of time on the campaign trail.

President Obama's "blitz" -- which took him to seven different states in 48 hours, had him early vote and on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno -- was a focus of the program. A part of this effort to make his case to America, Mr. Obama spoke to Brian Williams.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Personally, I love Brian Williams as an interviewer. He's tough, but respectful, which is vital when talking to someone as high as the President or a candidate for president. This interview focused on the dead heat that this election has found itself in and President Obama's efforts, which some see as desperate. He also pressed the President on his relationship with Romney, which many have observed to be one of general disdain and tolerance.

Another well done package focused on our very own state of Ohio. Once again, the Buckeye State is supposedly going to decide the election, and both campaigns know this. One-fifth of the advertising budget has gone to Ohio.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I always knew Ohio was a big player in the election, but I never really knew why. What makes us a swing state? According to a political scientist in this video, it's because we are a sampling of the United States as a whole, which is interesting to me.

I also liked how this package asked the question on whether or not the barrage of ads affect Ohioans, which apparently they don't. And I've experienced this. When every other commercial is for a presidential candidate and often say clashing things, you just don't believe them and ignore them.

Candidates Continue With Same Facebook Techniques

Mike Bundt

With the election quickly approaching, things are getting a lot tighter in the presidential race but nothing is really changing with either candidates' social media use.

Both President Obama and Mitt Romney continue to use their facebook pages for the same purposes as they have been using them the entire campaign.

They both mainly use their pages for propaganda to improve their image while trying to show how they're both better than one another.

This isn't really a surprise that each candidate is doing the same things on facebook since you're very limited to what you can actually do on the site.

Since the people that like your page are likely your supporters, the number of actual undecided voters who are interested in their messages and looking at their pages is probably not a high percentage.

So, it makes sense as to why they continue to do the things they do.

President Obama is going to continue to use propaganda like the picture below to draw his base closer together while hoping people share his message with others on facebook while Romney looks to do the same thing as well.

Propaganda from President Obama's FB page
Mitt Romney's facebook has been posting in a similar style to President Obama's facebook the entire campaign.

One thing that Romney has continued to post a lot of is pictures of himself on the campaign trail.

It seems as though his facebook is starting to post even more pictures of him on the campaign trail as they try to make one last run at the White House.

When it comes down why both candidates have similar facebook techniques, it's not hard to figure out.

They're both trying to become the President of the United States. Facebook is a medium to reach out to your supporters but it's not a form of big media that reports on the news.

Unlike big news where the corporations do the reporting, facebook provides both candidates a way to become more personable and show a side of them that no one in the media can.

Therefore, we see both candidates trying to put forth the most positive image of themselves through pictures and propaganda while hoping to unite their bases and get people behind them.

Romney on the Campaign trail (FB Photo)

The BBC: Yummy election coverage

Bradley W. Parks


Looking for light snack in the billion-course meal that is United States election coverage? The BBC has  the right bite just for you.

In the time since our last postings on the blog, the BBC added what it calls the Daily Diet for the U.S. Election, taking bits and pieces from what it thinks are the most interesting stories while also accepting viewer submissions.

From the looks of the latest Diet posting, the segment appears to be targeted at young voters, capitalizing on the most bizarre stories.

For example, for Oct. 26, the Diet included stories about stale rocker Meat Loaf endorsing Governor Mitt Romney, President Obama being carded when he went to the polls, and astrologists' views of the election.

He said, She said

In a story titled "Romney promises 'real change' to Obama's 'status quo'" the BBC breaks from what it had been doing prior to this month, covering issues.

The story simply restates what Governor Romney said at campaign rallies compared to what President Obama said at his, pushing the BBC's content into the lull of boring election coverage.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Scorecards? CHECK! Facts? CHECK(ed)! Birthplace? CHECK(mate)?

Seaira Christian-Daniels

Many news outlets have mentioned how important Ohio or Florida’s electoral votes will be this election season. 

Some have even simulated the outcome of November’s election on their programs. 

However, NPR created an interactive electorate calculator that would make my Algebra teacher proud!
Featured on its Election 2012 page, NPR’s “Swingstate Scorecard” allows web browsers to try their hand combining all the possible combinations leading to an Obama or Romney victory. The application presumes historically one-party states, such as California (D) and Texas (R), and contains a side-panel of eight “up for grabs” states, which can be assigned to either candidate.

It may have been a nice touch, however, to have a follow-up article exploring how the pungency of ballots cast in swing states affects undecided voters in vividly Red or Blue states. Do historically single-party states unintentionally discourage voters?

What Voters Want

In a cubical topic slideshow nestled into the far right corner of lies a link to a self-fact-checking blog by NPR’s Edward Schumacher-Matos. 

The web page contains pie graphs, line graphs, and several explicatory graphs of text analyzing the fact checking skills of NPR itself. NPR’s online survey takers also indicated the type of news important to them.  

Fact-checking claims and information about each candidate’s platform were at the very top of the list.

Along Comes Birther—again
The birthplace issue has bobbed and weaved itself back into the news on, but this time, by the Obama campaign itself. 

The campaign has jabbed at skeptics doubting the President’s U.S. citizenship by creating t-shirts and mugs with copies of the President’s birth certificate on the back and a frontal image that reads “Made in the USA.” 

The article, which actually recognizes skepticism as an essential part of Americana--is placed as the lead story on’s politics page. No retaliatory comments from Republicans or Governor Romney are listed. 

Hurricane Sandy Powering Over Political Tweets

Sandhya Kambhampati

It seems that Hurricane Sandy has not only taken over everyone's minds, but the Twittersphere as well.

With the countdown to the big day now in the single digits, many people aren't bringing up their political views on Twitter and it's because of the storm.

President Barack Obama has already issued several state of emergency declarations. A picture from @whitehouse shows President Obama sitting at a table with FEMA officials speaking about Hurricane Sandy.

Tweet from @whitehouse 10/29/2012

Some are comparing President Obama's response with Former President Bush's response to Katrina, putting Sandy's notifications at a new standard.

As Hurricane Sandy continues to be the number one talked about thing on tweeters' minds,  it has also given the opportunity for some to make some interesting correlations.

One example of this can be seen by @BuzzFeedAndrew who made a correlation between Governor Romney in this election to the hurricane map.


What I always find fascinating in these type of pictures are the reaction that these journalists are getting from the pictures, videos and tweets that they post. One tweeter, @popachubs, tweeted "landslide happens when no one votes in these states due to personal issues."

This is also leaving some, like @jimacostacnn to ask about the swing states getting affected by Hurricane Sandy and what this means for people getting out to vote.


CNN's Jim Acosta, along with many other journalists are thinking about the long-haul affects of the Hurricane, especially in states such as Ohio.  Depending on the way this hurricane pans out, some of the campaign stops might be put to a halt.

Do you think this might change the way people vote? Or even come out to vote? Tweet @sandhya__k  & let me know your thoughts. 

Election Still Playing Second Fiddle...

By Matt Digby

So, we're within 10 days of finding out whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney will spend the next four years as President of the United States. This means news outlets, both domestic and foreign, should be devoting at least a third, if not half of the time, to covering the election, right?

In Al Jazeera's case, the election takes a seat on the back burner. To Al Jazeera's credit, the top story at the time of this post was how the U.S. is preparing for the "biggest storm ever" in Hurricane Sandy.

It has also reported on the new voting laws that are less than two years old. Check it out here:

Still, I don't think Al Jazeera has done all it could have done to cover the election for a global audience. It had previews for each of the debates, but as far as I can tell, didn't have a U.S. election beat reporter posting daily stories to the website.

I've mentioned in previous posts that Al Jazeera can be excused to a degree because of the fact that it's responsible for covering world news, and doing so for an audience that isn't American (remember my one link about AJ being accused of anti-Americanism?). But the U.S. presidential election is an event that only occurs every four years, and it impacts the entire world.

Do you think Al Jazeera should spend as much time on the election as American news outlets? Is it too late for the organization to change your opinion about how it's done election coverage so far? Let me know what you think! Interacting With the Reader

Kaitlyn Crist

With the election drawing to a close, Ohioans and residents of other swing states are marking their calendars till the end of November 6th -- the end of  a bombardment of political ads and the "ad" nauseum that we have all been feeling since June (at least for another four years).

The New York Times is trying to ease some of the pain by making political ads more interactive and fun, and not just background noise while we check our Facebooks.

This week, they published an interactive article featuring three top advertising executives giving their top pics for both pro-Obama and pro-Romney ads.

A pick by Ad-Execs as a top Pro-Romney ad. 

This article not only picks out the best advertisements by those who do advertisements for a living, but also discusses what works in each one.

The article works well with voters/readers because it gives them a whole new perspective on the droves of political ads we have all seen a hundred times over (I swear there are political ads in my sleep, "I'm Barack Obama and I approve this dream").

It shows readers what they should be looking for in a good political ad. For every 100 ads out there, there is one great one that deserves to be pait attention to, and this article points them out.

  2 out of 3 ad executives agreed that this is the best political advertisement put out by the Obama campaign. 

With days left in the election, we will see hours worth of advertisements and now is the time to pay attention, especially if you're still undecided.

This article helps point out what works so well in political ads, and what the candidates should have been focusing on this entire election.

Plus, I'm a sucker for any online story with "interactive" in the headline. It's the way of the news future, and great for the Times to start embracing it.

One week left NYT, keep turning out great multimedia content. It's what the voters need.

The Daily Show: Countdown to Election Day

By: Leah Petrovich

It's crunch time. Election day is just a little over a week away. President Obama and Mitt Romney are making their last visits around the country.

Ohio is being hit hard with campaign messages. Last week on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart said, "I'm not sure if any other states are voting," because Ohio has been so noticeably targeted by both campaigns. Take a look at this short segment.

I learned some new information from this episode. Good, old Professor Stewart preached about a statement Romney has been making in his closing argument at the end of debates. Stewart says that Romney is giving a false figure of how many Department of Energy grant recipients failed. Romney is saying half, when Stewart reveals the real number is 8 percent.

Here's a closely related article: False Claims in Final Debate from FactCheck

In this short segment from a recent episode Stewart states that the government is always picking and choosing, a spin-off from a Romney remark. With that, he adds some information about Bain Capital.

Bain Capital, a private equity investment firm that Romney co-founded, had an interesting investment: Lifelike Co. A company that sold expensive, customized dolls to resemble the girl they were bought for. An article from WSJ better explains the ordeal.

As the final days draw near it will be an even closer race. I'm expecting some last minute dirt to arise or a powerful campaign commercial to pop up, especially here in Ohio.

Frankenstorm Stalls Election Coverage

by Amanda Walters

 Hurricane Sandy, also known as Frankenstorm, is making it’s way to the east coast only nine days before the election. 

All across New York and Washington DC, people are being evacuated and everything is at a standstill. This crisis is pushing politics to the sideline.

President Barack Obama says he will not be making any campaign appearances during the storm so he can focus on aiding victims of the storm. 

The Obama campaign has also stated that it will not send out any campaign emails during the storm. Both Vice President Joe Biden and Governor Mitt Romney canceled events in Virginia this weekend.

What could this storm mean for the election? Could some people be unable to get to the polls because of the aftermath of the storm?

Like many other news outlets that attempted to conjecture about the political effects of the storm, CBS couldn't help but ask these questions even while people are wondering about their own future. They even asked if the storm could be this election's October Surprise. 

I believe that they should have taken the high road instead of wasting time conjecturing about what the massive storm could mean for politics. For many people on the east coast right now, there are things much more important than politics. 

While most of the focus of their online and afternoon broadcasts were on the storm, that didn’t mean there wasn’t anything going on in the world of politics.  

CBS Morning did a story on how one liberal and one conservative see themselves and why they identify with that term. The “Liberal vs. Conservative” title of the video is a bit unnerving because it fills into the paradigm that pins one camp against the other.

Nancy Giles, who identifies herself as liberal, talks about her idea of what it means to be a liberal. For her being a liberal means that she enjoys the diversity within our country.

Ben Stein, a conservative, also discussed what being a conservative means to him. He, more than Giles, talked about actual policy that describes someone with conservative beliefs.

While I understand that this story was meant to help each side get back to the basis of what their side is fighting for, I think that it just became semantics.

The definitions Giles and Stein both give for each side sound like something you would have a lot of trouble going against, but the definition means nothing without knowing what policies fall where.  While they were trying to bring people together, it just shows how far apart we’ve truly gotten. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

The BBC: Heartland gains attention abroad

Bradley W. Parks

Ohio on BBC's radar

Even across the pond, Ohio garners plenty of coverage from major news outlets.

The BBC ran a story focusing on President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney on the campaign trail in Ohio, noting the importance of the state's vote.

The story tied the Ohio campaign to the pair's first debate coming up on Wednesday Oct. 3, taking points made in the candidate's speeches as talking points for the debate.

Also, an interesting long-form piece brought Ohio into the mix as an example of the weakened economy. I found it interesting the BBC chose Ohio because the state has improved very much in the past four years with an unemployment rate less than eight percent.

New banner casts Romney in bad light

The BBC updated the look of its election homepage, adding a new banner, which is not all too friendly to Mr. Romney.

While President Obama looks as cool as a cucumber in his picture, Mr. Romney does not look quite as calm.

Mr. Romney's photo features him with a furrowed brow, looking somewhat more angry and matter-of-factish than President Obama.

Also, notice the lighting of the two images. President Obama's lighting seems natural as if the image simply had the background cut out.

On the other hand, Mr. Romney has the lighting of a campfire ghost story with the strongest light coming from under his chin, giving him a rather ominous appearance in comparison to President Obama.