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Context, and Political Theater, in North Carolina

CJR Daily - March 7, 2012 - 11:15am
NORTH CAROLINA — As the results of the Super Tuesday primaries put Republican
candidates in the headlines, President Obama is making his own bid for news coverage
today. Obama is traveling to the town of Mount Holly, where he will speak at a Daimler
Trucks manufacturing plant. He is expected to address the twin themes of energy and
the economy,...
Categories: Media

prwatch: RT @ALECexposed: WI judge blocks "Extremely Broad and Largely
Needless" #VoterID http://t.co/5WSepPnz #ALECexposed #votersuppression

PR Watch on Twitter - March 7, 2012 - 10:18am
prwatch: RT @ALECexposed: WI judge blocks "Extremely Broad and Largely Needless"
#VoterID http://t.co/5WSepPnz #ALECexposed #votersuppression

Show us the Money

CJR Daily - March 7, 2012 - 6:00am
The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision unleashed a torrent of campaign
spending, the impact of which we are witnessing firsthand as the GOP primary unfolds,
media market by media market. Candidates and their advocates set records for
broadcast ad buys in both South Carolina and Florida. And Campaign Media Analysis
Group, which tracks political ad expenditures,...
Categories: Media

Audit Notes: Fox on Energy, Journalists and Programmers, Bloomberg

CJR Daily - March 7, 2012 - 1:29am
Media Matters has an amusing compilation of Fox News reactions to $4 a gallon
gasoline in 2008, when George W. Bush was in office, and its reactions today, when
Barack Obama is. 2008: 2012: Back then, gas prices were based on global supply and
demand issues at...
Categories: Media

Message Machine: Reverse Engineering an Obama Email Campaign
Pro Publica - March 6, 2012 - 6:34pm

by Jeff Larson , Al Shaw and Lois Beckett

Campaigns are increasingly tailoring their messages—and their funding requests—using
massive databases of personal information about potential voters. Here are six
variations of a Thursday night message from the Obama campaign, based on emails
submitted by 190 recipients across the country.

Categories: Media, Politics

Reverse-Engineering Obama’s Message Machine

Pro Publica - March 6, 2012 - 6:34pm

by Lois Beckett and Jeff Larson

Last Thursday, President Obama's re-election campaign sent out an email blast to
supporters. Former journalism professor Dan Sinker and his wife received their
messages simultaneously as they sat next to each other on their couch in Chicago. Both
emails were from Julianna Smoot, the deputy manager of Obama's campaign, and both
asked for donations.

Sinker's email asked him to help the campaign try out a "new, super-easy" online
donation tool by giving $20.

The email to his wife, by contrast, described a 61-year-old mother and grandmother
whose donation had just won her a seat at a dinner with the president. It asked for $25.

Sinker and his wife weren't the only ones to receive similar but subtly different emails
from the Obama campaign. Responding to a call on Twitter from Sinker (and another
from us), 190 people from 31 states and Washington, D.C., sent us the messages they

A look at those emails shows the campaign sent out at least six versions of the
fundraising appeal.

The reasons for the differences remain unclear. (The campaign hasn't responded to our
requests for comment.) The campaign could be testing to see which phrasing gets the
best response. The messages also may be tailored to individual voters based on the
campaign's extensive database of personal information.

Either way, it's a glimpse into the detailed data work that rarely gets attention but is
increasingly central to campaigns.
Take a look for yourself. We have posted an interactive graphic allowing you to
track the differences among the emails.

The changes are minor but may highlight the ways that political campaigns are
increasingly tailoring their messages — and their funding requests — using
personal information about potential voters. While appeals to specific voters
have long been a part of campaigns, politicians now have the ability to
"microtarget" voters based on everything from their donation histories to what
religions they list on Facebook.

Voters have little way of knowing how much a campaign knows about them, how the
messages they're receiving differ from the messages that other voters are sent, or what
these differences might reveal about a campaign's priorities.

Sasha Issenberg, a journalist who has done extensive reporting on campaigns' new uses
of data and analytics, said the Obama campaign is leading the way. It takes a rigorous
approach to testing the effectiveness of different messages, tracking results based not
only on the message content but also the name given as the sender of the email, the
subject line, the format, even the date and time of day the messages are sent.

"People who don't get an email on Thursday might be because they didn't
respond to emails on Thursdays in the past," said Issenberg, who is writing a
book about campaign data use. "Every element of an email is a potential

While the Obama campaign is usually perceived as the most data-savvy, Mitt Romney
and Rick Perry's campaigns also have used microtargeting tactics to reach specific voters
through email, Facebook and online ads and video.

"We're all seeing different campaigns play out," Sinker said.

Categories: Media, Politics

Bloomberg, Uncovered

CJR Daily - March 6, 2012 - 6:23pm
Gothamist flags this gem down deep in a Bloomberg News story on its new Billionaire's
Index: Bloomberg News editorial policy is to not cover Bloomberg LP. As a result
Michael Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, won’t be
considered for this ranking. Huh? Now, let’s see: Bloomberg does cover its founder
Michael Bloomberg...
Categories: Media
prwatch: Wisconsin: Judge grants temporary injunction barring enforcement of
voter ID law in April election http://t.co/GTRiguKT #VoterID

PR Watch on Twitter - March 6, 2012 - 2:55pm
prwatch: Wisconsin: Judge grants temporary injunction barring enforcement of voter ID
law in April election http://t.co/GTRiguKT #VoterID

School of Hard Knocks: Fed Education Data Shows Racial Disparities, Unequal

Pro Publica - March 6, 2012 - 2:25pm

by Marian Wang

Schools serving the most black and Hispanic students are less likely to offer rigorous
subjects such as calculus and physics and more likely to employ teachers with only a
year or two of experience. Those findings come from a new data analysis by the U.S.
Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

Later today, the department will be releasing the survey data underlying this
analysis — the 2009-2010 Civil Rights Data Collection, which contains a wide
range of school-level statistics covering course offerings, teacher salaries and
absenteeism, student discipline and student outcomes.

Among the findings highlighted by the Education Department:

 Black students were more than three times as likely to be suspended or
 expelled relative to their white counterparts. Racial disparities in discipline, of
 course, have been reported before, but according to the department’s
 analysis, this trend held true across all districts in the sample.

 White and Asian students were disproportionately overrepresented in gifted and
 talented programs -- comprising nearly three-quarters of enrollment in such programs
 -- while black and Hispanic students were disproportionately underrepresented.
 Students with disabilities comprised only 12 percent of students in the sample, but
 were an overwhelming majority of students subjected to physical restraint.

This data release from the department builds on the same dataset we used for
ProPublica’s Opportunity Gap project last year, which highlighted the link
between poverty and unequal access to high-level courses across the nation.
The newest data has not yet been independently verified, so in the coming weeks, we’ll
be cleaning, cross-checking, and incorporating it into our interactive schools app.
Meantime, you can check out how we did it the last time around and play around with
the app, which we aim to have updated soon.

Categories: Media, Politics

Ponying Up: How Much Have Big Banks Been Docked for the Financial Crisis?

Pro Publica - March 6, 2012 - 2:09pm

by Cora Currier

Nearly four years after the financial crisis, settlements with the big players on Wall
Street keep coming out, one after the other. It can be hard to keep track of it all. So
who’s been hit, with what, and for how much in total?

Categories: Media, Politics

prwatch: Clear Channel Stands Behind Rush Limbaugh http://t.co/lN3Vnfyq
#fem2 #Limbaugh #media

PR Watch on Twitter - March 6, 2012 - 1:56pm
prwatch: Clear Channel Stands Behind Rush Limbaugh http://t.co/lN3Vnfyq #fem2
#Limbaugh #media

prwatch: Free Sludge! Calabasas, California Offers Free Sewage Sludge
"Compost" http://t.co/lLAFeKUL #sludge #gardening #gardens

PR Watch on Twitter - March 6, 2012 - 1:52pm
prwatch: Free Sludge! Calabasas, California Offers Free Sewage Sludge "Compost"
http://t.co/lLAFeKUL #sludge #gardening #gardens

prwatch: RT @WEAC: MT @prwatch: New Walker ads showcase cheering
factory workers as WI enters 7 month of negative job growth
http://t.co/bq43ASnu ...

PR Watch on Twitter - March 6, 2012 - 1:51pm
prwatch: RT @WEAC: MT @prwatch: New Walker ads showcase cheering factory
workers as WI enters 7 month of negative job growth http://t.co/bq43ASnu ...

When JFK made Santorum sick

CJR Daily - March 6, 2012 - 1:48pm
It has been more than a week since Rick Santorum went on the Sunday talk circuit and
made news by saying that John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 speech about his religion
made him want to “throw up.” But the comment still reverberates on the campaign
trail, including places like Ohio, where he and Mitt Romney have battled for...
Categories: Media

Few Female Bylines in Major Magazines

CJR Daily - March 6, 2012 - 12:05pm

It's appropriate that the red, the color of passion and anger, represents the female male
slice of the pie in latest set of charts created by VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.* The
infographics reveal an ugly, unchanging truth: in 2011, the number of articles published
by women in top thought-leader magazines was significantly less than the number of...
Categories: Media

Flashback: Super Tuesday 2008 (Vote-zilla!!!)

CJR Daily - March 6, 2012 - 11:16am

Today is Super Tuesday! Or, "'pretty good' Tuesday," as MSNBC's delegate math whiz
Chuck Todd put it in a wistful walking-to-work tweet this morning. A far cry from
"Monster Super Tuesday," which is but one of the "prepubescent male"-pleasing ways
MSNBC hyped this day in the 2008 election cycle (when, yes, more states...
Categories: Media

prwatch: More Free #ToxicSludge! Calabasas, California Offers Free
#SewageSludge "Compost" http://t.co/tF6nqUyP

PR Watch on Twitter - March 6, 2012 - 10:11am
prwatch: More Free #ToxicSludge! Calabasas, California Offers Free #SewageSludge
"Compost" http://t.co/tF6nqUyP

Infographic: What's a CEO Worth?

CJR Daily - March 6, 2012 - 6:00am
Infographic by Nigel Holmes Click here to see a larger version of this image. The tenures
of two recently departed CEOs—Janet Robinson of The New York Times Company, and
Craig Dubow of Gannett—coincided with the most financially devastating period in the
history of newspapers. And few would consider either...
Categories: Media

An End To This Secrecy

SpinWatch - March 6, 2012 - 5:40am

DOWNLOAD OUR BRIEFING: Bringing Transparency to Lobbying.

Lobbyists are paid to influence government decisions. There are some 4000 people
working professionally in the UK's £2billion influence industry.

Many lobbyists are former MPs, some are Peers, or ex-senior officials, partners and
neighbours of Cabinet Ministers, former flatmates and old colleagues of current

The biggest spenders on lobbying are large companies, for whom lobbying is a
tactical investment: the aim of it is to benefit their bottom line, often against
the public interest.

This much we know. But, at the moment in the UK, we've no right to know who is
lobbying whom, and for what.

This could be about to change. The coalition government has agreed in principle to
open up lobbying with a register. But their current proposals, published in January, are
a sham.

We now have a rare opportunity to expose the influence industry, and help
change the back-room deal nature of politics. Find out how.

Categories: Public relations industry

Audit Notes: Rocket Internet, Gas Taxes, The Price of Health Care

CJR Daily - March 6, 2012 - 12:58am
Bloomberg BusinessWeek has a good story on a German company that makes its living
ripping off American websites and taking them overseas before the Americans can get
there. Rocket Internet, owned by three German brothers, has copied eBay, Zappos.com,
Groupon, and Facebook, and more—sometimes down to the font and the style of
furniture displayed on the homepage. The proprietors...
Categories: Media

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Lisa Graves Joins MSNBC's Up with Chris Hayes

Lisa Graves Discusses ALEC's "Stand Your
Ground" Law with NPR Host Michel Martin

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Lisa Graves at DC Rally Protesting ALEC's
"Stand Your Ground" Law, March 29, 2012
Center for Media and Democracy • 520 University Avenue, Suite 260 • Madison,
Wisconsin 53703
Phone: 608-260-9713 • Fax: 608-260-9714

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