Social media’s imprint on presidential election coverage continues to expand. As Jim Roberts, assistant managing editor at The New York Times, observed, “Social has profoundly impacted how journalists cover the election, how campaigns spin the news cycle and how the public consumes news. Social platforms have also amplified story lines and have become a conduit for news scoops.”
Ben Smith, editor-in-chief at BuzzFeed, added that with social media “Campaigns are competing with news organizations for readers’ attention.” And Amanda Zamora, national digital editor at The Washington Post, noted, “experimenting with new social platforms allows us to reach new audiences.”
Political reporters and editors from print, online, and television discussed benefits and drawbacks of using social media in 2012 presidential election coverage. Roberts moderated the panel held during Social Media Week on Wednesday in New York. Twitter, described by Peter Hamby, political reporter at CNN, as “an invaluable resource,” was the main focus. Below are key takeaways.