Politicians are major newsmakers; always have been and undoubtedly always will be. They change our lives and, because of that, our news.
Historically, the Fourth Estate has been a bridge connecting politicians to the masses. However, as media changes the divide between newsmakers and consumers grows.
I get most of my news from the Internet. I always have my phone and laptop with me making it easy to access news online. Newspapers (although I do enjoy the Sunday edition at times) take too long to read on the way to class. And as for television news, I share a TV with 36 other girls… news channels are not preferred.
So it’s online news for me, and most of the public. However…
Pop Quiz: Where do politicians get their news?
a) Newspapers and Television
If you chose a, you are correct!
And because politicians consume news from those media outlets, they cooperate with those outlets more than others. If both an independent blogger and a newspaper reporter asked a politician for an interview, she would be more likely to agree to one with the paper reporter.
According to a study done by governing.com, politicians recognize newspaper brands and television news networks. They are more unfamiliar with online-based content and therefore do not agree to give them the inside scoop as often. These newsmakers also believe that newspapers set journalistic trends, leaving other outlets a step behind.
And that’s potentially a problem. Although most people get their news online, politicians are not speaking to those sources, making the news we consume second-hand and maybe not as credible.
But don’t worry, these guys are catching on.
In 2009, President Obama named the first Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the United States.
Harper Reed served as CTO on the president’s re-election campaign in 2012. Reed said politicians are recognizing the ability to connect directly with the public and voters via social media. He also told Washington to pay attention to new trends online if they wanted to be elected.
Pew Research Center said 38 percent of social media users in America promoted political material online, 35 percent of users encouraged people to vote and 20 percent follow elected officials. Their research also shows that political action online is growing, especially with younger voters.
As more politicians are engaging online via social media, perhaps they will begin to recognize the importance of online-based media outlets and give them priority over newspapers. Let’s just hope they catch up before the next big thing steps on the scene.