Why web can win over papers this Super Tuesday

Super Tuesday, the day when 24 states in America go to the polls to select their candidate for the White House.

Barack Obama appears to have the momentum for the Democrat vote, clawing back Hillary Clinton’s once formidable lead, causing commentators around the globe to ask if her campaign is wearying at this crucial juncture.

But it would take a brave news editor to predict that it will become a rout for the man bidding to be the first black American to become US President today, and an even braver one to suggest to their editor that Hillary will come storming back.

Because last time around in New Hampshire the newspapers got it very badly wrong as Clinton put her on fire rival to the sword.

Across not just the UK, but America too, banner headlines screamed that it was all over for the Clinton campaign, only for the the ‘Comeback Kid MkII’ to prove them wrong once the final votes were counted – and some.

So what of tonight?

I suspect that as coverage on TV continues into the wee small hours this side of the pond, regardless who is in the lead when it comes to putting the papers to bed, there will be plenty of language couched with ifs and buts when the presses start rolling.

The only relief in the embarrassment last time is that fact it was collective – most political experts and news hounds getting it wrong together rather than some individual howler.

But the risk tonight and into tomorrow remains the same, so caution would appear to be the agreed way forward.

Or will it?

There have been mutterings amid in the political hack pack that far from early to bed once their Press deadline has passed, many are being required to put in that extra bit of effort to ensure the results and colour are made available on the web.

News chiefs finally working out that for such an occasion as this, they have a ready made medium with which to keep their readers informed, educated and entertained – and for once are preparing to put it to good use.

Of course, the trick will be driving folk to their websites, so it will be curious to pick up printed editions tomorrow to find out how many have come-ons directing customers to their web coverage – a real test of cross platform co-operation.

The beauty of the internet being, of course, that the web teams will be able to apply video to their coverage also, so as well as reading about the event, they should be able to watch the victory speeches and any potential tears too.

Newspapers in the UK have been working at their own speed when it comes to implementing their web strategies, some at a faster pace than others.

But could it be tonight that events in the US will finally provide the catalyst for those groups lagging behind to finally look again, and make the change in attitudes from the newsroom equivalent of dial-up to the free thinking future of broadband?

Categories: Blogs, Media philosophy & trends

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