Story pitch

Posted on February 24, 2011

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Story Pitch:

Social media and the County elections

Meadville is the base for Crawford County government offices, and as such a lot more election activities take place here than most people realize. The candidates for county seats are gearing up for their elections in May, and already they’re starting to campaign. I’d like to write about the increased use of social networking by those candidates, and by the party organizations in town.

I’ve so far found two Facebook pages related to the upcoming elections–Robin Sye‘s, who is running for Commissioner, and the page for the Crawford County Democratic Committee. I’ve spoken with Allegheny student Derek Dye, a senior, who works closely with the CC Republican Committee and was a student volunteer for Representative Mike Kelly’s campaign. He told me that the Republican Committee had asked him to outfit them with a Facebook page, and that they were looking into Twitter–and Derek himself is an avid Foursquare user, so I expect he’ll try to get them on board with that.

I expect this story might gear up a bit more in coming months, but it might be interesting to compare usage between the two parties and speak to people in town to see if it’s helping get these candidates’ names out. I know in Meadville, internet access and Facebook are not as ubiquitous as they may be elsewhere or for us at Allegheny, so it would be interesting to look at what audience they’re trying to address with the use of social networking. I could contextualize it with a national scope–over the past few years, politicians in Washington have started blowing up Twitter and Facebook with personal musings and policy proposals. But do these social networks have the same effect in an area in which much of the voting population may not use them?

It would be interesting on film to click through some of the pages, show how some of the discussions are developed through those social networks. I could interview current seatholders about their use or refusal to use the networks, as well as candidates. This could become a broader story, as a look at how small town governments or county governments can and do use social networking. It would work particularly well on the web, because there I could link to all of the sites I wrote about, as well as start Twitter conversations with candidates that readers could engage with, and perhaps even use Storify in some way.

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Posted in: Journalism, Reporting