New Media Outdid Traditional Media in US Presidential Coverage



We now know who the President of the United States is, and people vehemently expressed their feelings about it on social networks like Twitter. In recent times, we have seen that social media has been used by both the candidates and the voters where the former use it to connect to the latter and the latter use it to voice their opinion.

Between 2012 and 2016, there has been a lot of changes in how people use social media. Tonnes of people have joined these sites and there has been a rise of social media managers who run the accounts of politicians. It has become a battleground and these social networks know this. That is why for this election, they pulled all the stops to make sure that they offer the best coverage to its users.

Starting with Twitter, they had special hashflags for people to follow like #ElectionDay #ElectionNight and you could follow the coverage live via a broadcast that was powered by BuzzFeed. The coverage on YouTube was covered by the likes of  Bloomberg Politics and NBC and on Facebook, Live Video was the star thanks to coverage by PBS, New York Times, AJ+ and many more.

That is not all: Digital publications were also feeding the masses with the results of the location which were presented in colourful visualizations and charts.Some of these digital publications are from established traditional media outlets who have really good online editions and have used social media to their advantage. For example, CNN and New York Times, Politico and Five Thirty Eight gave excellent visualizations of the whole map of the US with data and metadata about what is happening in the real time.

Not to be forgotten is Google, who were able to stream the results live when you made a search query like “2016 US Election results.” The information was categorized under Overview Presidential, Senate, House and Referenda complete with insights which gave a good overview of the election results. The information was supplied by Associated Press and other organizations and it was a great way for the masses to follow the results.

Traditional media was left to cover the elections on their traditional news desks complete with pundits and graphical illustrations, as well as using social media sites to pass information to their followers. However, some of the traditional media outlets fumbled in reporting the US election like our very own Standard, who were a bit eager to publish a story about an impending Hillary Clinton win thanks to the predictions made by pollsters.

The 2016 US Election was an excellent case where we have seen new media disrupt traditional media in covering an event that is guaranteed to have a lot of eyeballs gazing at the content. It has also shown how some traditional media outlets have embraced the new media order to cover content like this, since a substantial percentage of the human population are internet users who will definitely consume the content if presented well.

We will have to see how the new media and traditional media will report the Kenyan General Elections next year, so as to know platform will provide the best coverage to the masses.


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