‘campaigns’ posts

Democratic Intel on Allen West (FL-22)
Media Trackers, a conservative non-profit media and government watchdog, uncovered Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee opposition research notebooks late last week. The organization says the files were found via Google searches. Put another way, the DCCC left the files exposed on whatever server they were hosting them on.
They’re interesting to read to see how our political parties conduct opposition research on one another.
Via Media Trackers:

The twelve unpublished manuals range in size from a few dozen pages to hundreds of pages, depending on the personal, business and civic record of the Republican target. Incumbent members of Congress, like Florida’s Allen West and California’s Dan Lungren, have long files, whereas the individual Republican candidates in North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District share a single book…
…The information found in the documents appears to be routine material one would expect to see. Biographical details, copies of land plots, voter registration records, tax information, business records, and press clippings and for incumbents voting records make up the bulk of the information. It is anticipated that individual Democratic campaigns and the DCCC itself will leverage the information into usable political fodder based on the dynamics of a particular race. Reading the books one can obtain a general outline of where Democrats are most likely to attack the Republican subject of the manual.

Image: Partial screenshot of the table of contents for Representative Allen West of Florida. The PDF for his file is here. Others are available here.

Democratic Intel on Allen West (FL-22)

Media Trackers, a conservative non-profit media and government watchdog, uncovered Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee opposition research notebooks late last week. The organization says the files were found via Google searches. Put another way, the DCCC left the files exposed on whatever server they were hosting them on.

They’re interesting to read to see how our political parties conduct opposition research on one another.

Via Media Trackers:

The twelve unpublished manuals range in size from a few dozen pages to hundreds of pages, depending on the personal, business and civic record of the Republican target. Incumbent members of Congress, like Florida’s Allen West and California’s Dan Lungren, have long files, whereas the individual Republican candidates in North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District share a single book…

…The information found in the documents appears to be routine material one would expect to see. Biographical details, copies of land plots, voter registration records, tax information, business records, and press clippings and for incumbents voting records make up the bulk of the information. It is anticipated that individual Democratic campaigns and the DCCC itself will leverage the information into usable political fodder based on the dynamics of a particular race. Reading the books one can obtain a general outline of where Democrats are most likely to attack the Republican subject of the manual.

Image: Partial screenshot of the table of contents for Representative Allen West of Florida. The PDF for his file is here. Others are available here.

Tracking How Politicians Target Us
If companies use finely tuned analytics to serve us ads and send us targeted messages it’s no surprise that politicians do so too. But what exactly those messages are, and how they differ by demographic and region, is something ProPublica wants to figure out.In March, ProPublica created the Message Machine to track Obama campaign emails. Now they’ve expanded its scope to track all politicians and relaunched it.
via ProPublica:

Voters have little way of knowing how much a campaign knows about them, how the messages they’re receiving differ from the messages that other voters are sent, or what these differences might reveal about a campaign’s priorities.
Sasha Issenberg, a journalist who has done extensive reporting on campaigns’ new uses of data and analytics, said the Obama campaign is leading the way. It takes a rigorous approach to testing the effectiveness of different messages, tracking results based not only on the message content but also the name given as the sender of the email, the subject line, the format, even the date and time of day the messages are sent.

FJP: Wondering about how submissions would be verified (e.g. someone manipulating the wording or message in an e-mail sent in to ProPublica) Michael sent an e-mail to Jeff Larson to find out more. Here’s the scoop:

We have a bunch of systems in place to make sure they are real campaign emails. I’ll give you a few examples: Our software automatically checks to see if the email is like any emails we’ve ever seen from each campaign, and if it is wildly different we ignore it. This is similar to how traditional spam detection works. We also have an industry standard spam detector in place to filter out straight spam. We also have a bunch of monitoring checks in place, and if we see a fake/imposter email sneak through we can quickly delete it from our database.

Jeff also explained why the project is important overall:

It’s not widely covered, but political campaigns are using very sophisticated “big data” techniques to optimize their message and influence voters. I hope this project helps uncover how this part of political campaigning works. Campaigns are putting a lot of resources into micro-targeting, we thought it was worth watching how it works and how it’s being put into action.  Learning exactly what the campaigns are saying to whom, may reveal inconsistencies in their messages or other surprising trends.

Image: Screenshot of the Message Machine e-mail.
Bonus: Read up a bit more on targeting here and here.

Tracking How Politicians Target Us

If companies use finely tuned analytics to serve us ads and send us targeted messages it’s no surprise that politicians do so too. But what exactly those messages are, and how they differ by demographic and region, is something ProPublica wants to figure out.

In March, ProPublica created the Message Machine to track Obama campaign emails. Now they’ve expanded its scope to track all politicians and relaunched it.

via ProPublica:

Voters have little way of knowing how much a campaign knows about them, how the messages they’re receiving differ from the messages that other voters are sent, or what these differences might reveal about a campaign’s priorities.

Sasha Issenberg, a journalist who has done extensive reporting on campaigns’ new uses of data and analytics, said the Obama campaign is leading the way. It takes a rigorous approach to testing the effectiveness of different messages, tracking results based not only on the message content but also the name given as the sender of the email, the subject line, the format, even the date and time of day the messages are sent.


FJP: 
Wondering about how submissions would be verified (e.g. someone manipulating the wording or message in an e-mail sent in to ProPublica) Michael sent an e-mail to Jeff Larson to find out more. Here’s the scoop:

We have a bunch of systems in place to make sure they are real campaign emails. I’ll give you a few examples: Our software automatically checks to see if the email is like any emails we’ve ever seen from each campaign, and if it is wildly different we ignore it. This is similar to how traditional spam detection works. We also have an industry standard spam detector in place to filter out straight spam. We also have a bunch of monitoring checks in place, and if we see a fake/imposter email sneak through we can quickly delete it from our database.

Jeff also explained why the project is important overall:

It’s not widely covered, but political campaigns are using very sophisticated “big data” techniques to optimize their message and influence voters. I hope this project helps uncover how this part of political campaigning works. Campaigns are putting a lot of resources into micro-targeting, we thought it was worth watching how it works and how it’s being put into action.  Learning exactly what the campaigns are saying to whom, may reveal inconsistencies in their messages or other surprising trends.


Image:
Screenshot of the Message Machine e-mail.

Bonus: Read up a bit more on targeting here and here.

Your Local Paper, In More Ways Than Ever
via Editor & Publisher:

A new marketing campaign from Pioneer Newspapers, Inc. is on a mission to send one very important message: Newspapers are alive and well. But you won’t find the message just in print. It’s being broadcast in television commercials, radio advertisements, and on billboards.“We’re trying to reach people who don’t read the paper,” said president and chief executive officer Mike Gugliotto.The Seattle-based family media business owns newspapers primarily in the Northwest…Their goal? To take a more proactive stand to dispel myths that the newspaper industry is dying.

Nine Pioneer newspapers are participating in the campaign, which will continue for one year and incorporate several themes.

The current theme focuses on the changing landscape of news delivery. One of the commercials shows a newsboy riding his bike through a neighborhood delivering the news, but it’s a laptop landing in homes. Another shows the family dog fetching the newspaper, only to come back with an iPad in his mouth.

And of course, multimedia is a big part of the campaign.

In addition, Pioneer has invested in new formats to deliver the news. The Chronicle equips reporters with “MoJo” kits that allow them to carry a laptop, digital camera, video, and audio recorders so they can bring readers breaking news and live blogs. The Tribune launched HTML5 websites for readers who prefer a tablet-based experience. Advertising representatives are also given tablets to take to meetings with clients to showcase online and mobile offerings.

FJP: A nice rebuttal to the all the talk on dying newspapers. 
Image: Cupcakes announce the slogan, “Your Local Paper in More Ways Than Ever.”

Your Local Paper, In More Ways Than Ever

via Editor & Publisher:

A new marketing campaign from Pioneer Newspapers, Inc. is on a mission to send one very important message: Newspapers are alive and well. But you won’t find the message just in print. It’s being broadcast in television commercials, radio advertisements, and on billboards.

“We’re trying to reach people who don’t read the paper,” said president and chief executive officer Mike Gugliotto.

The Seattle-based family media business owns newspapers primarily in the Northwest…Their goal? To take a more proactive stand to dispel myths that the newspaper industry is dying.

Nine Pioneer newspapers are participating in the campaign, which will continue for one year and incorporate several themes.

The current theme focuses on the changing landscape of news delivery. One of the commercials shows a newsboy riding his bike through a neighborhood delivering the news, but it’s a laptop landing in homes. Another shows the family dog fetching the newspaper, only to come back with an iPad in his mouth.

And of course, multimedia is a big part of the campaign.

In addition, Pioneer has invested in new formats to deliver the news. The Chronicle equips reporters with “MoJo” kits that allow them to carry a laptop, digital camera, video, and audio recorders so they can bring readers breaking news and live blogs. The Tribune launched HTML5 websites for readers who prefer a tablet-based experience. Advertising representatives are also given tablets to take to meetings with clients to showcase online and mobile offerings.

FJP: A nice rebuttal to the all the talk on dying newspapers. 

Image: Cupcakes announce the slogan, “Your Local Paper in More Ways Than Ever.”

Will They Eat the Young? →

The New York Times reports that a joint venture between National Journal and CBS News has recent college graduates out on the campaign trail providing coverage once done by seasoned news veterans:

For decades, campaign buses were populated by hotshots, some of whom covered politics for decades, from Walter Mears to David S. Broder to Jules Witcover. It was a glamorous club, captured and skewered in Timothy Crouse’s best-selling “The Boys on the Bus,” about the 1972 campaign.

Now, more and more, because of budget cutbacks, those once coveted jobs are being filled by brand new journalists at a fraction of the salary. It is not so glamorous anymore.

The worry among some is that in cut throat politics, campaigns may seize upon missteps and the potential naiveté of rookie reporters for political advantage.

In the hands of a political partisan looking to discredit a news organization, these slip-ups can become powerful and fatal ammunition. “Everything you say can and will be used against you,” said Ron Fournier, the editor-in-chief of National Journal…

…Reporters have far more to worry about these days than missteps of their own making. A new generation of political activists like James O’Keefe, the conservative sabotage artist behind the hidden recordings that helped ignite outrage against Planned Parenthood, Acorn and National Public Radio, are setting traps with the goal of discrediting the media.

Over at Salon, Alex Pareene believes this new batch of reporters will do just fine, suggesting that the bar for political reporting just isn’t that high:

Some people will probably get outraged at this debasing of the noble profession of political reporting, but I can’t imagine that these “kids” could possibly be any more banal than the superstars who file a dozen identical stories from the same Iowa prayer breakfast or whatever.

And for those just getting into the game, ABC’s Jack Tapper offers 13 pieces of advice.

Number one among them: Young reporters gearing up for campaign coverage, I have two words: neck pillow.

We share a belief that the Holocaust, of course, can and should be discussed appropriately in the media. But that is not what we have seen at Fox News. It is not appropriate to accuse a 14-year-old Jew hiding with a Christian family in Nazi-occupied Hungary of sending his people to death camps. It is not appropriate to call executives of another news agency “Nazis.” And it is not appropriate to make literally hundreds of on-air references to the Holocaust and Nazis when characterizing people with whom you disagree.

It is because this issue has a profound impact on each of us, our families and our communities that we are calling on Fox News to meet the standard it has set for itself: “to exercise the ultimate sensitivity when referencing the Holocaust.”

We respectfully request that Glenn Beck be sanctioned by Fox News for his completely unacceptable attacks on a survivor of the Holocaust and that Roger Ailes apologize for his dismissive remarks about rabbis’ sensitivity tohow the Holocaust is used on the air.

The Jewish Funds for Justice, a non-profit group, took out a full page ad today in News Corp’s Wall Street Journal to criticize the use of Holocaust and Nazi terminology by News Corp’s Fox News commentators to label those with whom they disagree. The letter is addressed to Rupert Murdoch and signed by 400 leaders of the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements as well as Orthodox rabbis.

UpdateFox news responds:

In a statement provided to The Cutline, Joel Cheatwood, senior vice president of development for Fox News, said: “We haven’t seen the ad, but this group is a George Soros backed left-wing political organization that has been trying to engage Glenn Beck primarily for publicity purposes.