Monday, October 06, 2008

Presidential picks, American Idol-style

For all the care newspapers put into their presidential endorsements, a mere three out of 10 people are likely to pay them any heed, according to the Pew Research Center for People and the Press.

If editors and publishers can overlook this seeming repudiation of their wisdom, they can build valuable new engagement with their readers – and non-readers – by taking a cue from American Idol.

Rather than publishing just the usual single, well-crafted opus cranked out by the anonymous editorial-page staff, newspapers can invite readers to submit their own endorsements for the candidate of their choice.

Once editors pick, polish and publish the best of the endorsements in print and on the web, readers would be invited to select for their favorite citizen-penned editorial. Cutting-edge newspapers could encourage people to vote via their mobile phones, just like American Idol.

The contest would be marketed by a viral online campaign leveraging things like Facebook (where Barack Obama has more than 2 million friends and John McCain has 560,098 pals) and the multitude of blogs that have flowered in the rich political ferment. It also could be publicized on local radio and television.

The presidential bake-off could bring a hundreds of fresh readers to the newspaper and its website – including, especially, the younger consumers who statistically eschew newspapers but, by all accounts, are jazzed by this year’s presidential contest.

If they liked what they saw, they might come back again.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone still believe in official editorial endorsements, or bother reading them?

The real endorsement of candidates is done every day, on the 'news' pages. The slant of the 'news' stories, and what is covered, show a newspaper's effective endorsement, regardless of whom editors may claim to support.

Does anyone need an editorial to know who the LA Times wants to win?

6:50 AM  
Blogger Ken Doctor -- Content Bridges said...

Indeed. I like the idea, as part of what I've called the 95% Solution. Let the rest of the world, and the machinery of the web do the bulk of the work, then let editors do top-end selection and editing -- applying judgment.

My election question of the day: Why are the people invited to tonight's Town Hall debate only the "undecided." What does it say for people to have heard and watched and read for a year and a half and still be undecided. They are representative of exactly what?

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If most folks don't care about endorsements, they sure as heck don't care about editorials. The care and feeding of these cadres of know-it-alls who tell the rest of us stinking normal people what to think several times a week is laughable, elitist and wastes resources.

9:08 AM  
Blogger Clever Idea Widgetry said...

Hasn't the sleazy hypocrisy of mixing and mingling news reporting and editorial content been one the undisputed pillars of why newspapers have been rejected in an ever-increasing pattern?

6:35 PM  

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