Live-Blog: Election Day Highlights on Social, Digital Media

    by Mark Glaser
    November 8, 2016
    Photo by Steve Baker via Flickr Creative Commons.

    It’s been along time coming, but finally the day is here: Election Day 2016! In the past, MediaShift has had live-chats and even a live video stream. This year, we’ve opted for a live-blog to update you on Election Day, Night and The Morning After with tidbits about how the media is covering the historic day online and on social media. Check out the live blog as well as a Storify at the bottom. Entries are reverse-chronological. If you have a tip or item to share, drop a note in the comments or to mark [at] mediashift [dot] org.

    Big Losers: The Media and Pollsters

    1:44 pm ET, Nov. 9, 2016

    Now that Trump has defeated Clinton, and the seemingly impossible has come to pass, it didn’t take long for the media to point the finger at itself and its failings. Every poll and data project had Clinton winning overall, and the focus on the “horse race” meant that no one bothered to hear the voices of those in the Rust Belt who were mad as hell. And social media turned out to be a real bubble where people only listened to those preaching to the choir.


    And what about those early projections by VoteCastr, Slate and Vice? Dead wrong. We’ll talk more about all this on our weekly podcast Friday, with Politico’s Hadas Gold. In the meantime, here are some good early post-mortems on what went wrong for the media:

    Media’s apolcalypse, by Joe Pompeo, Politico

    In his war with media, Trump gets the last shot, by Hadas Gold, Politico


    The media didn’t want to believe Trump could win. So they looked the other way. by Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post

    A ‘Dewey Defeat Truman’ Lesson for the Digital Age, by Jim Rutenberg, New York Times

    Donald Trump’s Victory Challenges the Power of the Press, by Michael Calderone, Huffington Post

    Here’s Why The Media Failed to Predict a Donald Trump Victory, by Mathew Ingram, Fortune

    The Morning After: Twitter Wins

    11:30 a.m. ET, Nov. 9, 2016

    A few nuggets about the role of social media in this divisive, emotional, roller coaster of an election:

    From USA Today: More than 35 million election-related tweets were posted by 9 p.m. ET. “Twitter kept pace with Facebook, which with its nearly 1.8 billion users, snagged a huge share of social-media sharing, too. According to the company, 115.3 million people on Facebook generated 716.3 million likes, posts, comments and shares related to the election and posted 643 million views of election-related videos.”

    And from the NYTimes: “Forget about Snapchat and set aside YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. For all the bluster over the last year about which social media network would dominate the election, 2016 was no different from years past: It was another Twitter moment.”

    -Courtney Lowery Cowgill

    At the New York Times, Talk of Headlines, Clinton Emails, Real Digging

    10 p.m. ET, Nov. 8, 2016

    New York Times publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. welcomes the audience at NYT Election Night Live at the Times Center.

    New York Times publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. welcomes the audience at NYT Election Night Live at the Times Center.

    A few notes from the New York Times’ “Election Night Live” taking place in New York City:

    • NYT Executive Editor Dean Baquet said the 2016 election “defied news media that relies only on quick opinion.” It required journalists to put more resources into reporting that required real digging, he said. 
    • Staffers in the newsroom are currently debating the headlines that they’ll potentially use on the front page of the paper. Baquet explained that, if Clinton wins, they need a headlines that captures her historic win, but doesn’t use Clinton in the headline – “because we’ve already done that.” On the other hand, if Trump wins, they need a headline that captures the road he has traveled to lead him to the win. 
    • On stage staffers momentarily debated whether they’d done too much coverage on Clinton’s emails.
      “I don’t know,” Op-Ed columnist Frank Bruni said. “At some point, the volume of what’s been said about a story makes it a story.”

    -Bianca Fortis

    NPR’s Low-Tech/High-Tech Art Therapy

    8:11 ET, Nov. 8, 2016

    This might be one of my favorite data viz projects of the night: NPR’s “art therapy” map streamed on Facebook Live, marrying one of the oldest media with one of the newest.

    -Courtney Lowery Cowgill

    BuzzFeed Video-Stream’s Big Push on Twitter

    6:47 pm ET on Nov. 8, 2016

    This is going to be a historic night beyond the obvious. It’s also the first presidential election that will have live video coverage on Twitter, and the first time that BuzzFeed will be running said video feed. It definitely has that BuzzFeed feel, with a diverse cast of Millennials barely hiding their rooting interest in a Hillary Clinton victory. Plus, it’s getting big promotion in the sidebar on Twitter’s feed, and a shout-out at the top of the feed.


    It will be interesting to see what numbers this effort pulls in, as Twitter pushes hard on live event video.

    ~ Mark Glaser

    Social Media: This Election’s Double-Edged Sword

    5:02 pm ET on Nov. 8, 2016

    Did social media ruin this election? Can it predict tonight’s outcome? Is it contributing to our election-related stress? Is it helping us cope with election-related stress? All of the above, according to today’s news.

    First to social-media-as-bellweather: CNET is working with Spredfast, a social media analytics firm, to monitor how the day is playing out on social platforms. And, as CNET reports, they’re not the only ones. CalTech’s new  “Tweeting the Election” tracker is mapping tweets based on users’ political background.

    As to social-media-as-influencer: NPR’s Sam Sanders took a deep dive this morning into the question, “Did Social Media Ruin Election 2016?” while the New York Times’ John Herrman posited that as powerful as social media has been this cycle, “By now, we realize that these stories were only half-told. Established news media continue to face strong financial headwinds. But these organizations still exist and exerted clear power, too. Election-defining stories frequently arrived through familiar outlets, such as The Washington Post, which published the “Access Hollywood” video of Donald J. Trump.”

    And, finally, on social-media-as-emotional-irritant-or-balm: USA Today’s Jessica Guynn reports that for some, Twitter and Facebook will act as support groups for voters tonight. But, according to a survey released last month by the American Psychological Association, nearly 4 in 10 adults say political conversations on social media cause them stress. As one counselor tells CBS News’ Ashley Welch, people are reporting that the election, and specifically how it’s playing out on social media, is affecting their personal relationships: “We [my clients and I] talk a lot about the impact of social media and how it’s a double-edged sword because social media gives us all this access to connect with people but it also means that during campaign season, people are being bombarded with so much information and so much emotion about the election and being confronted with differing opinions from maybe family members, friends, and coworkers in which they may have not heard before.”

    -Courtney Lowery Cowgill

    VoteCastr, BuzzFeed Calling the Election Early Based on Data

    2:39 pm ET on Nov. 8, 2016

    Don’t want to wait until the “official” results come in from AP and the news networks? Then a new data firm, VoteCastr, is offering up its own view of results based on voters and not votes. Huh? Here’s a deeper explanation, but the bottom line is that they mix pre-Election Day surveys with observers at key polling sites in battleground states. It’s controversial, but Slate and Vice are jumping in with both feet. You can follow Slate’s numbers here. And here’s the live stream from Vice with VoteCastr results:

    And BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith is also pushing ahead with its own calls on states, in partnership with Decision Desk HQ. “We believe that our site, our push notifications, our tweets, and our Twitter show will offer you a clear window into not just into who’s winning, but also how journalists and analysts are making these calls,” Smith wrote. “And we hope that transparency is a good reason to trust us.”

    Saying that this is all an experiment helps to cover up the fact that they could get the final results horribly wrong. But if you just can’t wait and want to see the kinds of numbers that the campaigns see, you might be brave and look.

    UPDATE: Looks like Wall Street traders don’t mind looking, and have sent stock prices higher on the data from Slate showing Clinton leading in battleground states.

    ~ Mark Glaser

    Step Into a Swing State With 360-Degree Video

    2:21 pm ET on Nov. 8, 2016

    Last week the New York Times announced it will publish one 360-degree video each day with its new “Daily 360” series. Viewers can now experience polling places in North Carolina, Ohio and Florida with today’s 38-second-long video.

    ~ Bianca Fortis

    StoryClash: Facebook Sentiment Favors Clinton

    1:30 pm ET on Nov. 8, 2016

    For what it’s worth (who knows?), StoryClash found that sentiment on Facebook related to 2,186 articles favored Hillary Clinton 53% vs. Donald Trump at 47%. They looked at articles and reactions for more than a year in their analysis. Here’s their conclusion:

    “This year’s U.S. presidential election and the associated 180 million interactions also clearly show that social networks have long since established themselves as a serious barometer of public opinion. Social media trends on Facebook and other platforms represent the entirety of millions of individuals, reflecting the views of an ever-increasing population group.”

    Will it matter? Hard to say, but it’s interesting to gauge reactions on Facebook in such a deep way. ~ Mark Glaser

    Where to Watch Results Online

    1:11 pm ET on Nov. 8, 2016

    Lots of news orgs are using live-streaming video, including on Facebook Live, to cover election results. Digiday has a great rundown here.

    And if you want a more TV-like experience this election night online, you can check out more professional live-streams, with everyone from MTV to Fusion to BuzzFeed News and Yahoo News. Politico’s Hadas Gold has a rundown of TV anchors — as well as digital ones — here. ~ Mark Glaser

    High Traffic Starts Early for Digital Publishers

    12:40 pm ET on Nov. 8, 2016

    Election coverage brings record-setting traffic to news sites, and no surprise it’s off to a fast start today as well. What’s happening at voting places? How is turn out? What are the pundits and prognosticators saying. What’s with that photo of Donald Trump peering at Melania’s ballot? It all adds up quickly. Here’s what Chartbeat’s Josh Schwartz predicted last night:

    And today Parsely’s general manager tweeted out this:

    ~ Jason Alcorn

    The New York Times Attempts to Debunk Fake Election News

    10:44 am ET on Nov. 8, 2016

    In an effort to stem the tide of widespread misinformation that will inevitably flow as a result of the election, the New York Times is keeping a running list of fake and misleading news stories and tweets:

    “Fake stories and memes that crop up during live news events have been a problem on social media for years, but a wild election season has highlighted the news media’s slow response in stemming the flow of nonsense.”

    The news organization posted a story on Tuesday asking readers to help find false election stories. The post gives readers advice to help identify what news is fake – such as “check the account history of the source” and “check for context.” It then provides a form for readers to submit incidents of misleading stories they’ve come across. ~ Bianca Fortis

    Google Trends Map of Issues

    8:08 pm PT on Nov. 7, 2016

    Also on the Electionland page is this handy live map of issues related to the election created by Google News Lab and using Google Trends. According to the info on the map: “This map shows Google search interest in voting-related issues across the United States on a city level… The map does not show verified cases of voter problems, just increased search interest in them.”

    Paywalls Go Down

    5:12 pm PT on Nov. 7, 2016

    Everyone from the New York Times to Financial Times to Washington Post are removing their paywalls for Election Day as a civic duty of sorts. The idea is to let more people see their journalism and follow along on an important news day. The same has happened before during hurricanes or other emergencies when people needed the information. But not everyone is celebrating the takedown of paywalls. The Irish Times’ Laura Slattery doesn’t think this is the right time to bring down walls and that it won’t lead to more subscriptions in the end.

    “Running ‘open access’ promotions during less frenzied periods of the news cycle might lure fewer casual browsers, but at least the readers who do consciously sample the goods would more likely get around to evaluating the product on sale,” Slattery wrote.

    Possibly, but it’s still a mark of public service for publishers to let people follow along with election results without having to pay. Even if it’s not all about the bottom line for one day, it shows that journalism can be in the public good. ~Mark Glaser

    Electionland on the Case for Fraud, Problems

    4:16 pm PT on Nov. 7, 2016

    Think the election will be rigged? ProPublica has marshaled forces with 200 newsrooms, Google News Lab, First Draft coalition, CUNY and others on Electionland, a great project to check on election day issues throughout the country. It even customizes to show you the situation in your own precinct and city. There’s a great piece by ProPublica’s Derek Willis on “double-voting” and how rare that is. We expect to be checking out updates from Electionland throughout the day and beyond. Great project! ~Mark Glaser

    Metrics for Election Day Coverage

    3:58 pm PT on Nov. 7, 2016

    For newsrooms deploying in force for Election Day, how will they gauge how well they did? Our own MetricShift editor Jason Alcorn has a great post outlining the 14 metrics he thinks are important for election day coverage. (I like “peak concurrent visitors.”) He also has a good take on all the paywalls dropping for the day. ~Mark Glaser


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