Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Before There Was Obama...

I was looking through my notes after meeting with senior executives last month in public broadcasting in Washington D.C. What struck me was how almost every single person we met with talked about how public broadcasting could appropiate the Obama campaign's fundraising strategies. 


Lest we forget, and I mentioned this with the good folks at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS, Howard Dean did in fact revolutionize campaign fundraising through the Internet during his nomination bid in 2004. Before there was Obama, there was Dean. 

But even before that, lest we forget, there was Richard Viguerie. He didn't run for office, but he is the granddaddy of the conservative fundraising arm, pioneering direct mail to solicit donations for the conservative cause, and ultimately getting Ronald Reagan elected. 

My point is this: we get easily swept away with the new technology and how it transforms, for example, elections. But we forget while the technology has changed, the ideas are the same. Whether you use the Internet, or direct mail, you are manipulating the technology to serve a communication end. 

It reminds me of an intern who wrote in her script for a radio story "because of globalization" and then led into the story. I asked her what she meant by globalization. How was what she describing in her story different from the global economy forged by the British Navy and the Dutch East India Trading Company? She didn't have an answer, but the lesson for me, at least as a journalist, is to think historically. Journalists can get very caught up in the moment of a story, and forget why it's relevant in the long term. 

1 comment:

Benno Groeneveld said...

Sometimes it seems as if journalists have no memory at all. For example, how often are politicians confronted with past statements (other than on The Daily Show)?