Website has contributors solicit advertising

by Team Politics
June 8th, 2009

Howard Kurtz examines True/Slant, an “original content news network tailored to both the “Entrepreneurial Journalist” and marketers who want a more effective way to engage with digital audiences.” Essentially, the site encourages contributors to solicit advertisers to place campaigns:

In fact, [Miles O'Brien, a reporter who has written about the Air France crash for True/Slant] has already contacted such aerospace companies as Boeing and Lockheed Martin to sponsor his work at another site, and plans to do so for True/Slant.

True/Slant has 100 contributors, and unlike, say, the Huffington Post, where most writers blog for free, everyone is compensated in some form. “While it’s not a lot of money, it’s at least validating the worth of the journalism,” says Diane Dimond, a veteran television correspondent who is one of the site’s most prolific bloggers.

While some contributors receive a stipend, others have an equity stake or a share in advertising revenue that they solicit. Dvorkin says such contacts with advertisers would be disclosed and that True/Slant editors would step in if a writer tried to post inappropriate material about an advertiser. “I come from the land of traditional media standards,” he says.

Interesting stuff. The site will also be selling sponsored sections (labeled as advertorials), which doesn’t seem as extreme to me.

Full article.

True/Slant’s “About” page.

The return of the Grassley

by Team Politics
June 8th, 2009

Via The Hill’s Twitter Room, we see the Twitter-stylins of the Grass-dog, Chuck Grassley:

Pres Obama you got nerve while u sightseeing in Paris to tell us”time to deliver” on health care. We still on skedul/even workinWKEND.

Pres Obama while u sightseeing in Paris u said ‘time to delivr on healthcare’ When you are a “hammer” u think evrything is NAIL I’m no NAIL

We’ve been on the Grassley bandwagon from the beginning.

Content aggregation as an advocacy strategy

by Team Politics
June 5th, 2009

EMILY’s List has put together a page aggregating racist and misogynist attacks on President Obama’s SCOTUS nominee, Sonia Sotomayor.

Aside from the site not having an RSS feed (what???), I think this is an outstanding piece of political communication. It doesn’t require that the org create any content, it gives link love to other groups, and it provides a resource for folks who are going to advocate for Sotomayor’s appointment. In short, EMILY’s List is both participating in and adding real value to the conversation.

It’s better than another darn G.I. Joe trailer

by Team Politics
June 5th, 2009

At the NYT, we see some political advocacy go out-of-home.

Coming to theaters are commercials that are intended to spell out the perils of frivolous lawsuits as told by “everyday Americans,” including small-business owners who have been hit with costly lawsuits they believed were arbitrary and abusive.

The owner of a pool supply store in Rockville, Md., tells of being sued for $750,000 by a passer-by who fell and was injured after being startled by a wild Canada goose nesting near his store. A gasket maker in Monroe, La., narrates how he is grappling with 100 asbestos lawsuits, and a Colorado couple describe how their family was sued for $75,000 after their 7-year-old son struck a fellow skier.

The ads are for Faces of Lawsuit Abuse, a campaign from the US Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform. Be interesting to see how orgs use movie theater advertising in the future, considering they’re probably cheaper than TV (but not cheaper than online, cough cough!)

Apparently elections DO have consequences

by Team Politics
June 5th, 2009

From Wonkette, looks like Barbara Boxer is going to be having a short meeting with her direct mail folks:

You see? Boxer called her rival James Inhofe a woman! Or turned him into a woman, a la Tiresias.

“Bro’s a no-no for CoCo?”

by Team Politics
June 4th, 2009

I know that we’re in danger of only posting about Twitter, but you know, it’s popular. Watch until the end, that’s when the real payoff hits.

Ram Jam from the top rope!

by Team Politics
June 4th, 2009

At Politico, a short post about Obama’s thoughts on cable news:

I’ve used this analogy before, it feels like WWF wrestling. Everybody’s got their role to play. I know a lot of these guys. And if Pat Buchanan is having a conversation with Chris Matthews or talking to Keith Olbermann, everybody’s got their set pieces and, so, I don’t feel as if I’m learning anything from the debate.

The typically even-handed, intellectual sentiment we’ve come to expect from the President. But when I saw the headline:

I thought it said “Obama: I like WWF wrestling.” Now, I’m from South Carolina originally, and live in North Carolina now, so I have a bit of an emotional connection to “sports entertainment.” So when I misread this headline, my little redneck heart fluttered like it did when I first saw Stacy Keibler.

But I should have known it was too good to be true. You see, the WWF doesn’t exist anymore. It’s the WWE now. The WWF is something different.

Burris satire goes analog

by Team Politics
June 4th, 2009

From Gawker, a papercraft Roland Burris. Please enjoy, BoingBoing readers.

I don’t want to pile on…

by Team Politics
June 3rd, 2009

…but Simon Owens, the general smart dude behind Bloggasm, has an interesting survey of what percentage of Huffington Post’s front page articles are “original reporting.”

There were a total of 77 headlines on the front page of the Huffington Post when I conducted the survey. Of those, 4 headlines simply linked to news outlets offsite. There were 5 HuffPo stories that contained original reporting. There were 55 HuffPo stories that simply expressed opinion and/or summarized content from other outlets.The remaining 13 stories were reprinted wire copy.

So this means that approximately 6% of the HuffPo stories on the front page tonight contained original reporting. This is likely significantly fewer originally reported stories than you’d find on most major newspaper websites, including the New York Times, LA Times and the Washington Post.

Interesting stuff, and certainly makes me skeptical that HuffPo is going to be the news organization of the future.

Huffington pays people who…don’t really need it.

by Team Politics
June 3rd, 2009

From Gawker, a fun graph that outlines who gets paid at Huffington Post. I’m not surprised that they have unpaid interns (who doesn’t?), but what struck me was the prevalence of “elite” folks on the staff:

It’s not clear how publisher Arianna Huffington decides who to pay and who not to pay (we’ve asked and not yet heard back). But it’s worth noting that some Huffington underlings have higher profiles than others. This year’s staff, for example, includes former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s daughter (per WWD), as well as editor Nicholas Graham, of the family that owns the Washington Post.

Liz Hanks, daughter of actor Tom Hanks, has also worked for the site. And Huffington this year handed an important management role to her godson, heir to a computer fortune worth billions of dollars.

Arianna has always been good at leveraging her media celebrity to grow the site, but this nepotism seems a little crass, no?

Chinese assets are safe. Guffaw.

by Team Politics
June 1st, 2009

What else is Geithner going to say about the value of the dollar? Still, the audience’s response is scary.

“Chinese assets are very safe,” Geithner said in response to a question after a speech at Peking University, where he studied Chinese as a student in the 1980s.

His answer drew loud laughter from his student audience, reflecting skepticism in China about the wisdom of a developing country accumulating a vast stockpile of foreign reserves instead of spending the money to raise living standards at home.

Friendster, ink this!

by Team Politics
June 1st, 2009

Over at the Ignite Social Media blog, a rundown of social media tattoos. I’m not an ink guy, but I think I would rather have a tattoo of a broken heart with “Ruth” written in an ornate type across the top.


by Team Politics
June 1st, 2009

Looks like Organizing for America is trying to garner public support for Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court appointment through an Obama-style personality drive. This isn’t a bad idea, necessarily, but I just don’t think she has the charisma (or a short enough name) for this to really work. Let’s compare:

Succinct, regal, etc. Blah blah blah, all the things we know about Obama. Now, the Sotomayor image (available here).

Ehh, not so much. Like 97 letters, and the exclamation point just reeks of desperation. I dunno, it doesn’t look like her appointment has any chance of being blocked, so maybe this is an experiment for future appointments and legislative action that the admin wants to get done.

An adorable amount of people turn out for the first digital election

by Team Politics
June 1st, 2009

Via techPresident:

The Honolulu Advertiser is reporting that turnout in what was billed as the world’s very first entirely digital election came in at 6%, compared to 28% in the 2007 elections where voters could opt for a paper ballot.

6%! That’s so cute!

Oh man, Politico is selling tours…

by Team Politics
May 22nd, 2009

…of their newsroom. From FishbowlDC.

Tour of WJLA Studios and Politico Newsroom Sponsored by PRSA-NCC Professional Development CommitteeDate: Wednesday, May 20th
9 a.m.-10 a.m.
10 a.m.-11 a.m.

Location: WJLA Studios, 1100 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22209

Cost: $25 for members and $40 for non-members

Come join the Professional Development Committee as we take a tour through the WJLA-TV studios and Politico newsroom. ABC 7 Meteorologist Brian van de Graaff will be the host of the tours, as will some of his colleagues. They will be happy to answer any questions you have about the current state of the media, how the newsroom functions, or any other topic you find relevant. This is a great opportunity to see the inside of the newsroom, so we can better understand how they operate to help us in our conversations with journalists and reporters.

Starbucks is definitely in the conversation

by Team Politics
May 22nd, 2009

Simon Owens has a post over at Bloggasm (subscribe now! now!) about another huge brand stumbling through social media. Basically, Starbucks put up posters on public transit in major cities and challenged folks to be the first to tweet a picture of them. A liberal filmmaker, who was debuting an anti-Starbucks video that day, seized on the opportunity to insert an opposing viewpoint into the conversation:

On a blog post published at the anti-Starbucks website Brave New Films created, people were encouraged to take pictures of themselves in front of Starbucks stores holding signs targeted at the company’s “anti-labor practices.” These users are then told to upload these photos onto Twitpic and tweet them out to their followers using the hashtags #top3percent and #starbucks. According to the post, these are the official hashtags that were designated by Starbucks itself for those who wanted to enter its contest. Within hours, several people had followed these guidelines and there were dozens of Twitpics in front of stores across the country.

If brands want to participate in social media, they have to be willing to cede control. Used to being the captains of their own messaging fate, they now have to get used to being passengers.

In lighter news, Owens also has a post about trad journalism’s obsession with “sexting“. I learned that “1174″=”Nude club”.

Olbermann v. the blogosphere

by Team Politics
May 15th, 2009

So Wonkette, an entity that traffics almost entirely in irony, and Keith Olbermann, an entity that traffics in bizarre, sweaty sincerity, got into a fight recently. Michael Calderone at Politico sums it up.

Following CityFile’s report yesterday that Keith Olbermann’s recent three-day absence from MSNBC was due to a protest over Rachel Maddow booking Ben Affleck for the same night as him, the “Countdown” host responded in a strong statement Thursday afternoon.

But Olbermann wasn’t finished. On Thursday night, Olbermann used up seven minutes of airtime to slam blogs like CityFile, and those that followed up, Gawker and Wonkette.

Wonkette responds, fliply:

Whoo hoo, does this mean Wonkette is now “beneath contempt” in Keith Olbermann’s mind? Self-important much?

I wish this were a new media v. old media showdown, but I think it’s just a hilarious gossip-style hissy, sort of like Lindsay Lohan’s Twitter breakup with Sam Ronson. In which case, I would like this fight to continue until Ken Layne and The Olbermensch and Nick Denton and the guy from CityFile face off in a Klingon-style deathmatch, complete with Bat’leths.

Olbermann’s seven minutes:

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

I am Cheney-cutous of Borg, lower your shields and surrender your ships. Resistance is futile.

by Team Politics
May 13th, 2009

From BAGnewsNotes: Barack as Spock.

Related: Maureen Dowd compares Barack to Spock:

Commanding his own unwieldy starship of blended species, with Cheney, Limbaugh and other pitiless Borg aliens firing phasers from all sides, Mr. Obama has certainly invoked Mr. Spock’s Vulcan philosophy of “Infinite diversity in infinite combinations.” And he even recruited some impulsive Rahmulen muscle for his Utopia.

Okay, I give Ms. Dowd credit for “Rahmulen,” that is funny (although I’d argue that it should be spelled “Rahmulan“). But “Borg aliens”? Every Trekker worth his or her own salt would just call them “Borg,” DUHHHH.

Interesting PBS article about online advocacy

by Team Politics
May 13th, 2009

PBS MediaShift has an article by Mark Hannah about issue advocacy on the internet. My fave part:

Interactive (vs. Informational): While most all other media are one-way modes of communication, the Web encourages direct response. With a few simple mouse clicks, your audience can sign a petition, make a donation, subscribe to a newsletter, or send a letter to an elected official. When social advocates communicate through other media, the goal is often to inspire a belief or attitude that will, at some point, instigate an action. Communicating online allows us to accelerate that process, and make the call-to-action much more immediate.

Another long story about a short service

by Team Politics
May 8th, 2009

A fun little puff-piece in about Political Pursuit, a trivia contest between broadcast media types, print media types, and lawmakers, descends into a puff-piece about Claire McCaskill and her avid tweeting:

Cheering on the “Members Only” team were Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

McCaskill, one of the most prolific lawmakers on the social networking site Twitter, Tweeted several times during the event and even posted a photo of the contestants.

The rest of the article is about the Senator from MO and her Twitter habits.

Guess who’s coming to dinner?

by Team Politics
May 8th, 2009

Fonzworth Bentley, that’s who. That’s right, P. Diddy’s former valet and current host of MTV’s reality competition From a G to a Gent will be attending the White Correspondent’s Dinner and hosting an afterparty with WH radio’s April Ryan.
A certain governor will not be attending, though.

Twitter and The Right

by Team Politics
May 6th, 2009

Anyone who’s checked out the #tcot hashtag on Twitter knows that the microblogging platform has become a nerve center for conservatives online. Over at techPresident, noted conservative @MichaelTurk outlines the political/advocacy value of the tool for conservatives. The real nugget, and a real reason for the left to be nervous:

I specifically remember more than a few people, myself included, who watched the rise of the online left with initial derision. As late as 2004 and 2005, I heard things like, “The Democrats and their blogs. How’s that working out for them? All that effort and how many wins has it resulted in?”

The Hill’s “Twitter Room” is small

by Team Politics
May 6th, 2009

Not in the intellectual sense, certainly (unless you’re one of those Twitter-doubters). I mean in a physical sense. Their branding for the site is an iPhone.

I’m still a fan of unsmartphonez, so may sound like a rube for asking this, but I wonder what percentage of tweets come from smartphones, vs dumb SMS, the browser, tools on the desktop, and, I dunno, smoke signals.

Political advertisers, step up your game

by Team Politics
May 4th, 2009

On today, I caught a glimpse of what’s perhaps the wickedest advocacy ad ever. It’s for The Cap Solution.

Look at these guys! They’re simultaneously trustworthy and terrifying. In other words, they’re convincing.

A retrospective of 2008 online ads

by Team Politics
May 4th, 2009

At techPresident, an excerpt from Kate Kaye’s forthcoming Campaign ‘08: A Turning Point for Digital Media. The McCain campaign embraced my favorite tactic, controversy:

Clinton’s own display ads were few and far between, but the McCain camp made sure she showed up in some anyway. A grinning, sunflower-adorned Hillary flashed the peace sign in one ad. “1 million for a Woodstock Museum? Not so groovy man,” said the ad. It mirrored a McCain TV spot which alluded to Clinton’s proposal to fund a museum in Woodstock, N.Y., commemorating the legendary drugged-out 1969 concert event. Other ads displayed the Vietnam veteran as a hard-as-nails foil to a hippie-fied Hillary.

While the Obama campaign valued the metrics of online ads:

“They knew by the hour how much money their ads were making,” said a media exec who worked closely with the Obama digital ad staff. “There were no slouches on the Obama team,” he added. In fact, his observations of their data-driven decision-making and campaign measurement led the executive to call one top Obama digital ad staffer a “quant.”

Full excerpt here.

“Google blast” helps people think about metrics

by Team Politics
April 4th, 2009

Democratic candidate for New York’s 20th Congressional district Scott Murphy employed his Google ads in an interesting way in the 36 hours leading up the Mar. 31 election:

From late Sunday night through noon yesterday, ads for Democratic contender Scott Murphy blanketed Web pages viewed by residents of the district…

The tactic tested by the Murphy campaign involves serving up ads on behalf of one advertiser on most or all of the Google content network pages generated within a short period within a specific geographic area, in this case New York’s 20th congressional district and some surrounding areas to catch local commuters at work.

So basically, if you live in Oneonta and were on the Internet anytime yesterday, you saw a Scott Murphy ad. This is certainly a neat way to leverage the Goog’s considerable reach, and may have worked (maybe, Murphy is up by like 59 votes and the election will be decided by absentee ballots). The most important piece of info people in my field can grab from Murphy’s Google blast is this teachable moment from Phillip de Vellis at Murphy Putnam Media:

This late in the game, the goal is no longer to get voters to click through to drum up donations or recruit volunteers. It’s to convince undecided voters to vote for a particular candidate, or remind supporters they need to vote. “We’re just trying to persuade them to vote for our candidate instead of the other candidate…I know that [the ads are] going to have a really low click-through rate,” said de Villis.

Campaigns are pretty unique creatures, so this sort of “ultimate branding” won’t be embraced by everyone. But the perspective shown by de Villis and the Murphy campaign is refreshing. Advertising/communicating online can give you every metric in the world, but you have to have the wisdom to know which ones match the tools you’re using. If you’re “Google blasting,” then you aren’t going to get a high CTR. If you’re using Blogads, your effective CPC will be low, and you’re engagement will be great, but you aren’t going to get a ton of traditional branding value out of your ad. If you’re evangelizing on Twitter, don’t expect a ton of brand value, but expect some engagement (if you’re using Twitter correctly). It’s up to us as communications pros to learn what works and to teach our clients what to expect.

Twitter is NOT a Strategy

by Team Politics
March 27th, 2009

An excellent post over at techPresident, about using Twitter as a communication tool:

The Twitter fixation currently sweeping segments the news media and the political world (particularly on the Republican side) reminds me of those innocent days of the early web. Not to put Twitter down, because it definitely has valuable uses, but it’s just a tool — and if you don’t know WHY you’re using it, you’re probably not going to get much out of it.

“If you’re following more than 500 people, you’re not really following anyone.”

by Team Politics
March 26th, 2009

Congrats to Simon Owens, who was named DC’s second-best Twitterer! He also writes a very good blog!

HuffPo proves what we already know…

by Team Politics
March 19th, 2009

…that it’s not really a political site. Nearly all of it’s above-the-fold content is entertainment:

Of course, even if you collapse the entertainment crawl, HuffPo’s subtle headlines dominate the premium space:

Reminds us of another classy publication:

Stay classy, Arianna.


by Team Politics
March 19th, 2009

It’s time to lay off the RNC and their tech missteps, and lean on the Democrats for overplaying their hand on the Rush Limbaugh “failure” saga.

The “I’m Sorry, Rush” form letter was very funny, but the Rush Limbaugh billboard contest is pushing it, and the finalists were not super funny:

  • Hope and change cannot be Rush’d
  • Failure is not an option for America’s future
  • We can fix America, just don’t Rush it

Who’s writing this stuff, Bruce Villanch? We have some better suggestions:

That last one is a high-functioning Salman Rushdie joke. You see, that’s what Salman Rushdie’s ex-wife, Padma Lakshmi, says when she boots people off of Top Chef…eh, whatever.

The point is that humor is great, and needs to be re-injected into politics. But these slogans are the blandest, least ambitious selections the Dems could have dredged up. And the winner is not only boring, but clunky! It’s seven words, in past tense. Play to win, Democrats!