Washington insiders examine the role of new media

Arun Chaudhary, Joe Trippi, Frank Sesno, SMPA
White House videographer Arun Chaudhary, center, and former adviser to Howard Dean, Joe Trippi, left, speak Thursday with School of Media and Public Affairs Director Frank Sesno about the influence of new media in the campaign process in SMPA. Zachary Krahmer | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Sophia Allouache. 

Political strategists debated Thursday the impact new media will have on this year’s presidential contest in a School of Media and Public Affairs classroom.

Arun Chaudhary – the first-ever White House videographer who covered President Barack Obama during his first three years in office – and Joe Trippi, a former adviser to Howard Dean, headlined the conversation moderated by School of Media and Public Affairs Director Frank Sesno.

The pair concluded that new media – including multimedia videography and the rise of social networking platforms like Twitter – have transformed the campaign process, which still continues to evolve. Voter outreach, fundraising strategy and the role of traditional news outlets are changing with technology, they both said.

Associate Research Professor Nina Seavey called Trippi the “architect of this new way of approaching campaigns,” compared to Chaudhary who later enacted similar strategies.

“We thought it would be interesting to have a dialogue between the architect and the practitioner,” she said.

Trippi said political candidates must be “authentic” while constantly in the eye of new media. Chaudhary echoed the claim, noting the popularity of live-streams of Obama’s daily life.

Although Seavey said new media can encourage participation among young voters, Chaudhary challenged the idea, saying that the bulk of viewers of White House videos are actually middle-aged – leaving the question of their influence on young voters open-ended.

“Social media is the more powerful way to communicate,” Sesno said.

This post was updated on Feb. 17, 2012 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported the event took place in Jack Morton Auditorium. The discussion was held in a School of Media and Public Affairs classroom.

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