It’s already election season again in the United States, as midterm elections are just around the corner. On November 8, voters across the country will head to election polling stations or send their mail-in ballots. They will cast their votes for congressional candidates and other national and local political positions up for grabs that day, many of which are hotly contested and could significantly shift the balance of power. Widely seen as an informal referendum on the party currently in power, midterms are nevertheless difficult to predict – and as a result can be a field day for media outlets and journalists focused on politics and political analysis.
Elections in all parts of the world have become dramatic events, in which interest extends even beyond the politically curious. Capitalizing on this growing interest, particularly as the issues become more complex and divisive, may present a competitive challenge for many media organizations, but every challenge is also an opportunity. Politics is filled not just with the numbers, such as vote counts and constituencies reporting, but also a rich world filled with lively and contentious contenders, controversial issues, fervent opinions and debate – all of which are fertile ground for live election coverage.
With all eyes on the US midterms (among other upcoming elections), there is an opportunity to reach an unprecedented number of people. The electoral landscape in a country like the US is multilayered and complex – with different systems at work in different states, different rules about how people can vote, and a lot at stake in one place that does not matter in another. Thanks to the complexity and range of difference, there is also a need to cut through the noise and focus the attention of a reading audience. What is going to set one media company’s content apart from another?
Keep the reader on the page. What do you offer them to keep them there? Engagement. The coverage should be lively, not flat. And what do people want to see?
Before an election, readers following candidates and their progress want to know how key players are polling, want to read analysis and informed predictions about the likelihood that polling is correct. They want the politicians’ backstory – how did they end up on the campaign trail? They may want detail on the history of a specific district and its winners and losers. How does the district historically vote? How have demographics changed in the district? Can they interact with other readers and with the journalist and discuss opinions? Is there a wealth of multimedia content that helps contextualize the campaign rhetoric and stump speeches? Can a live blog help readers keep track of a politician’s promises and lies? The possibilities are endless in terms of how live blogging can be flexibly deployed to meet readers everywhere they are.
Sure, the vote numbers matter, and it’s largely why readers tune in. But there can be an information-rich build-up that provides a bigger story that can inform readers’ own choices and discussions. Even if the vote result comes down to the numbers (which itself can generate tension and excitement when elections are too close to call), the period leading up to the election is equally important in engaging readers and getting their vote of confidence in all the coverage offered. And this is where media outlets and journalists can get as creative as they want to.
It’s easy to get started with bringing campaign and voting action to life through live blogging and the flexible options it offers.
With Live Center, kick start your live coverage from the campaign trail to the state house, covering candidates and their journey to election day and beyond through live blogging.