A big welcome back to the Lenz Trucks guys, attorney David Gruber and Steinhafels. I'm sure some of us will miss the abundance of campaign advertisements – OK, only the bean counters at the local TV and radio stations will.
Here are some reflections on the election coverage and what we can expect next:
Political spending: Unfortunately, in the big picture of party politics, more than $6 billion has been spent across the board on the 2012 election and there hasn't been much change. The House and the Senate are the same, as is who is occupying the White House.
The sad truth here, unless you happen to own a media outlet, is that more could be spent in 2016, especially as rates continue to climb and Super PACs can continue to operate as they have. I'm sure tune-out is a factor; let's hope it is enough of one as this election is sliced and diced that the campaigns find better ways of telling us about their candidates and attacking their competition.
Was she drunk? In the social media circles, one trending topic was the behavior of ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer. It was actually more amusing following the tweets and other mentions of the veteran newscaster than it was watching the endless talking heads babble on in the hours leading up to the point at which projections were accurate enough to call the win. I've met Sawyer before, and have seen multiple hours of her on my TV. If she was under the influence, I didn't see it in her work on election night. I would say that I've seen better out of her, though.
Calling the shots: It was interesting watching Karl Rove question Fox News when they made state projections last night. The former Bush staffer predicted a Mitt Romney win and didn't seem to like it when Fox was ready to call Ohio in Barack Obama's corner.
There's some science and some sticking your neck out on hunches when forecasting or projecting vote totals. As a practice, I like sitting back for official numbers, but the media world is a competitive big business. It pays big time to be first on things ... and sometimes credibility can loom in a call made too quickly. It can also cost viewers if you rest on your laurels too long as well.
In a time when cable news outlets have taken a slant and ride the tide with it, they are in for the good and the bad. It shouldn't surprise anyone that MSNBC was the first to call it for Obama, nor should we be surprised when Rove suffers a meltdown on Fox.
Smart screens: At some points during the coverage on multiple outlets, it seemed the screens ended up smarter than the people reading the content from them. Kudos to the engineers, artists and producers who make the political graphics work. The technology has advanced, and the sets and smart screens looked great.
Advertising to political junkies: A number of large advertisers who couldn't get their ads on the air while being bumped by campaigns took to online as a way to get their messages out. Microsoft had a huge presence on Politico, while others like Exxon and United Healthcare bought ads on other news websites. As the future of our political process takes shape, and technology advances to becoming even more interactive, we can expect marketers to take advantage of digital platforms for their messaging.
Media is bombarding us everywhere.
Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.
The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.