Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Rep. Betty Sutton, Iraq and Modern Political Communications

So, you are a blogger with two kids home from school, one sick, keeping you away from the computer hours at a time. Your Representatives’ office sends you a link to the YouTube of her committee speech, but by the time you get it, everyone already has a post up.

What to do?

Write a process piece, of course.

Representative Betty Sutton’s staff have been doing a pretty good job of using all the media tools available, but this is the first time they’ve sent out a YouTube. It’s smart strategy – no one but the hardest core C-Span junkies would have seen the speech otherwise. If you’ve missed it everywhere else, here she is:

The email from her office averred that “people were buzzing” about the speech, but that buzz, from what I can find with my search tools, didn’t generate any press attention. Now Rep. Sutton’s speech is seen by blog readers, including the local press. Maybe it doesn’t get a mention and maybe the next doesn’t either, but it reminds an increasingly harried and skeletonized press corps that the Representative has a key committee post and that she shows up and pushes her issues.

The speech itself shows the delicate balance Democrats are striking between rejecting the strategy and supporting the speech. Rep. Sutton spends her first minute emphasizing the latter before hammering on the former. But as this plays out, people will have the YT speech, along with plenty of links to it and plenty of places people can run across it using The Google.

Smart as the move is, it’s quickly becoming de rigueur. YouTubing is so last month, though the Next Big Thing hasn’t quite shown up. The best political offices not only use the new media, they are keep an eye out for what the new new media might look like. Still, it’s good to see that a politician who at times seemed to struggle to find a nugget of imagination during the campaign is keeping current now that she’s in office.

So: scoop/process piece. Who says the MSM have nothing to teach bloggers?