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WSU Newsline: Social media becoming popular with political candidates
Tuesday, July 27, 2010 9:00 AM

The scripts are available for printing and for sound bite identification.

Go to http://www.wichita.edu/newsline to get the current Wichita State University Newsline. If you cannot access the Newsline at the Web address above, contact Joe Kleinsasser at (316) 978-3013 or cell (316) 204-8266 or joe.kleinsasser@wichita.edu. Newsline cuts may be edited to suit your needs.

If you have additional questions for Lou Heldman after listening to the WSU Newsline, please call him at (316) 978-6077 or lou.heldman@wichita.edu.

Background:

Political campaigns use social media to connect with voters and try to help win elections. Lou Heldman, a communications strategist at Wichita State University and former publisher of The Wichita Eagle and Kansas.com, talks about the impact of social media on political campaigns.

Voice wrap:

Announcer: The tools and tactics of political campaigns have undergone many changes in the past 60 years. With the advent of the Internet and social media, candidates have found new ways to battle for the hearts and minds of voters. Lou Heldman, a communications strategist at Wichita State University and former publisher of The Wichita Eagle and Kansas.com, is among those observing the impact of social media on political campaigns.

Heldman: "Social media is playing an increasing role in political campaigns. The leading example was the Obama campaign in 2008, where he rallied a tremendous amount of support and raised tens of millions of dollars using social media."

Announcer: However, Heldman says, for all the popularity of social media, broadcast advertising and direct mail, the old standbys of political campaigns are still far and away the dominant form of communication by candidates. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University. 

Sound bite #1

Heldman says the leading candidates for U.S. Senate and Fourth District congressional seat are using social media. The sound bite is 14 seconds and the outcue is "on YouTube."

Heldman: "In Kansas, all of the leading candidates for U.S. Senate and for the Fourth District congressional seat are making extensive use of social media. Virtually every candidate has a Facebook account, a Twitter account and an account on YouTube."

Sound bite #2

Heldman says candidates like using websites because they can control the message. The sound bite is 16 seconds and the outcue is "through the Web."

Heldman: "Candidates love Web-based channels because they can control the message. They can put out their schedules, fundraising appeals, press statements, all of the things that used to have to go through traditional media, they're now distributing directly through the Web."

Sound bite #3

Heldman explains why political candidates like Web-based media. The sound bite is 20 seconds and the outcue is "and their YouTube channel."

Heldman: "Quick response time and low cost are advantages of Web-based media. There's none of the waiting for weeks for a television commercial to be scripted and shot. Instead, candidates can be on YouTube within minutes, using a low-cost video rig and their YouTube channel."

Sound bite #4

Heldman says it's not easy reaching undecided voters relying on websites and social media. The sound bite is 19 seconds and the outcue is "other popular show."

Heldman: "One disadvantage of using the web versus traditional advertising channels is that you're mostly reaching people who have agreed to follow you or friend you or like you, and not reaching the large number of undecided voters that you can reach with a spot on American Idol or other popular show."

Sound bite #5

Heldman points out one of the disadvantages of social media in political campaigns. The sound bite is 16 seconds and the outcue is "using his name."

Heldman: "One disadvantage of social media is that it's very easy to create fake sites. One of the candidates who's in the Fourth District congressional race has more fake activity on Twitter than real activity, because people opposed to him have set up fake sites using his name."

Sound bite #6

Heldman says broadcast advertising and direct mail are still the most effective way for candidates to get their message out. The sound bite is 21 seconds and the outcue is "just the primary."

Heldman: "For all the popularity of social media, broadcast advertising and direct mail, the old standbys of political campaigns are still far and away the dominant form of communication by candidates. Before the Fourth District congressional race is done, more than a million dollars will be spent on TV advertising, and that's just the primary."

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Contact: Lou Heldman, (316) 978-6077 or lou.heldman@wichita.edu.