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This week, the Republican National Committee released an "autopsy" on how the GOP lost the election in 2012 and where it can improve its branding going forward. William Jacobsen of Legal Insurrection noted that the 100 page report failed to mention New Media and bloggers as an opportunity to improve communications. However, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has seen the power of New Media and has decided to take a more proactive approach. The NRSC recently hired Bill Murphy to direct blogger outreach.
Murphy, Director of BlogBash, appeared at a blogger's briefing at CPAC this past weekend and said, "They get it now. Their whole team is fired up and ready to reach out to all the conservative online activists and all the bloggers. You (bloggers) will start getting a lot of emails from us, and if you have any comments or any kind of criticism, we will appreciate hearing from you." Murphy previously served in a similar capacity on the Romney campaign.
It will be interesting to see if they reach out to bloggers and activists that are aligned with groups such as FreedomWorks where there has been pushback against the incumbent protection machines. Will they make a concerted effort to strengthen the party by choosing many voices instead of one? Many believed that the RNC report served as a roadmap for centralizing power at the top, instead of allowing the grassroots to help craft new election strategies. The true power of the decentralized media is the ability to have many voices and perspectives. Time will tell if the NRSC will embrace the democratization of media, or will rather seek to homogenize the message.
With the decline of traditional media and the decline of access to actual news in those mainstream media outlets, digital media is poised to become the dominant force in news dissemination. The annual report from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism on The State of the News Media says, in part,
[Increasingly] newsmakers and others with information they want to put into the public arena have become more adept at using digital technology and social media to do so on their own, without any filter by the traditional media. They are also seeing more success in getting their message into the traditional media narrative.
We saw what the Obama campaign was able to do when it combined astonishingly detailed data analysis with online outreach and digital media. The NRSC seems to have taken that lesson to heart. As traditional news outlets slowly die out, it will be more important than ever for Conservatives to own the digital arena and properly leverage their advantages.
We no longer live in an age of passive participation in politics.