Every four years, Americans have the privilege of making our voices heard as we elect the leader of the free world. While that responsibility should not be taken lightly, the firestorm of media coverage, campaigning and last-minute smear tactics have grown to epic proportions, providing us all with 24-7 political entertainment.
As we gear up for Super Tuesday, when several states will hold primary elections, here are five things to watch for.
- Who’s First
On Super Tuesday, as soon as the first polls close on the East Coast, the networks will be racing to project the winners first. However, in recent history, the networks have had to learn the hard way that being first can have negative consequences when early projections were announced and then recalled. While it can be argued that there is more room for error in today’s 24/7 news environment, on Super Tuesday, false projections can impact the race in states still casting their votes. As you sit down to watch the results roll in, take note of the first network to project a winner and whether their claim holds true.
Twitter is still one of the most viable platforms to receive up-to-the-minute updates and election results. From major network anchors to the candidates themselves, everyone will be tweeting the news of the hour. With the likes of the @realDonaldTrump and @BernieSanders, your news feed is bound to be full of colorful commentary.
- Media Bias
Buzz term? Yes. Valid claim? You decide. With every election cycle come new cries of media bias and unfair treatment of candidates from both sides of the aisle. Over the course of the last several months, candidates themselves have even taken sides, only granting interviews to specific media personalities and vowing only to participate in debates sponsored by networks they deem worthy.
Whether you are an average American trying to stay informed, an advertising agency working for a campaign or political advocacy group, be wary of your source. The media you follow matters. Now, more than ever, it is imperative to scan the media landscape to collect accurate and objective news. Don’t fall victim on Super Tuesday to one-sided information—you may not be getting the real story.
Each election cycle, campaigns are focused on reaching highly coveted young voters. Those who have been most successful are those who utilize the newest social media platforms. This year, the “it” platform is Snapchat. From geotargeted campaign filters at polling locations to Live Stories, Super Tuesday will be full of candidates sharing their successes and rallying their troops. Additionally, check out the “Discover” section as major networks like CNN will be using the platform to share news, infographics and more.
- Live Streaming & Live Polling
TV won’t be the only source for live streaming coverage on Tuesday. Between Periscope (via Twitter), which allows viewers to experience live events from someone else’s eyes, to Snapchat Stories, there will be no shortage of channels to get news. Many major networks now include live focus groups and in-studio audiences to provide real-time polling and commentary, as well. During lulls in the action, networks are relying on “everyday Americans” to keep their audiences engaged.
Happy election season!