Clinton Post Goes Viral, But TV Barely Notices

ABC and NBC both covered Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s effort to address criticism that she can’t show her human side…but NBC’s approach plowed new ground. Unlike ABC, NBC recognized the power of social media.

Humans of New York originated as a photography project in 2010, capturing the lives of people who live in New York City, according to the project’s Facebook page.

It now posts photos, interviews and human-interest stories from around the world to 17 million followers.

This post centering on Hillary Clinton was shared more than 206,000 times across one social media platform alone.

In an election where social media is used to connect to young voters, is it significant enough to be covered in the evening news?

“If it’s relevant and important and enhances the case you’re making, then yes, you should include it.” former NPR and Mic executive editor Madhulika Sikka said. “I think it’s important for people to understand there are multiple ways in which the candidates are trying to reach the electorate.”

Clinton directly answers the criticism both networks have presented, but only NBC chose to include the post in its support of their analysis.

“The candidates are both going to directly to voters on social media, disintermediating the press. And social media is the only source of news for more and more voters,” Vivian Schiller, former head of news and journalism partnerships at Twitter  said.

“This was clearly a carefully thought through move on the part of Clinton campaign. It did not just happen,” Schiller said. “Should [ABC have] include the post in the TV package? No need. The point here is not the post, but rather her response to the criticism that she’s not “human” enough.”

More Madhulika Sikka:

  • “Even though ABC labeled their story as trying to look at Hillary Clinton making a turn in her campaign, I actually don’t think they did that particularly well. They didn’t set it up, they had it as their chryon, the title on the bottom. They really focused on her response to the question during her press conference where she turned around and came back.”
  • “NBC sort of set up a premise and looked back at how this has sort of dogged her since her days as first lady. I think they did a much better job at holistically trying to dig into the premise that they set up. I think it was more effective for what it was promising.”
  • “I don’t think [the Humans of New York post] would have made any difference in that particular piece because I don’t think [ABC] executed the idea very well.”
  • “[The Humans of New York post] was useful in the NBC piece because they set up talking about a memo in the Clinton White House in the 90s and this issue that has sort of dogged her and she shared an example of where she dealt with this from a very early age. I think it just bolstered it.”

More from Vivian Schiller:

  • “[Social media] messages can be newsworthy, though probably more on on the Trump side as he can be off the cuff and more revealing than the carefully crafted message of the Clinton campaign.”
  • “Social media also matters in terms of what’s catching on with voters, be it memes, outrage of support. However, it’s important that the network put it in context. [For example], Trump equates likes and followers on twitter to polling. That’s nonsense.”
Alex Theriot

Alex Theriot

Alex Theriot is a senior multi-platform journalism major, minoring in global terrorism studies. Previously, Alex served as staff writer, style editor and webmaster for Unwind Magazine, the campus arts and entertainment publication. Alex has held communications internships at the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Department of Homeland Security. She completed her journalism internship at CNN. Upon graduation, Alex hopes to attend graduate school in the Washington, D.C. area, continuing to pursue a career in national security.

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