Week 8: The Information Age and Project Proposal

The project i have in mind may be a bit extensive for this course.  I may have to search for ways to condense my idea.  Perhaps by focusing on just one political race versus all 44 elections. 

I struggled with some of the most basic questions posed in the reading surrounding the purpose, and the central theme: “Who is my intended audience?”  Due to my own interest i have always wanted to research more on the topic of presidential campaigns, but not with the idea to reach a broader audience.  Though, if others have similar interests and are able to clean insight from my site, I most certainly would not be disappointed.  So outside of hey, here is an interest i have, i wondered how that is relevant to others.  To answer that question i had to ask myself who would be interested in perusing such a site?   Most likely political guru’s like campaign workers, congressional staff, Political Parties, and political science students.  That seems kind of limited in scope.  In a broader sense who else may be interested?  It was with these simple, yet complicated, questions that my proposal came into fruition. 


TOPIC:  Presidential Campaigns http://www.historyofpresidentialcampaigns.com

PURPOSE:  To attract an interested and engaged citizenry (roughly 57 percent of the population in the last presidential election) by creating a comprehensive site depicting the historical evolution of presidential campaigns and political parties.

RESOURCES:  I will use photos, video, possible sound bites, old newspaper clippings, speeches made to the public, and maps displaying the results (my primary source for most of these items will be the Library of Congress).

  • Video: debates, major speeches delivered such as; convention nomination acceptance speeches, candidacy announcement speeches, campaign stump speeches, debates, etc.  I would like to see what is already available on YouTube.
  • Photos:  Official presidential photo’s, photos of opponents, miscellaneous photo’s from the campaign trail. Photos of miscellaneous campaign materials such as yard signs, campaign buttons, bumper stickers, etc.  All photos will be in JPEG format.
  • Sound Bites:  I will use sound bites to collect radio addresses that captured important political campaign feed prior to the invention of video in the same categories of those mentioned for video above.  I will most likely harness QuickTime for this and I would like to have the sound bites streaming. 
  • Newspapers:  Caricatures, photo’s from the campaign trail, announcement of candidates, Electoral College maps, etc. – An online Newspaper database would be great for collecting these types of articles.  I am going to look to free databases like the Library of Congresses, Chronicling America: America’s Newspapers, first.  Any documents will be available in a PDF format. 
  • Maps:  Not quite sure how I will approach creating a map that is historically accurate of the time.  I am not sure what tool I could utilize to create that?

CONCLUSION:  Political campaigns are unavoidable during election years.  By the end of two-year campaign cycle candidates are exhausted, millions of dollars have been spent, and people are sick of and tired of the whole extravaganza.  Despite most of the populations rush for the campaigns to be over, there is something about a campaign that peaks the interest (however short-lived that interest may be).  I suspect during the period of heightened interest, that any site featuring campaign history will see an increase in traffic.  Perhaps such a site could lend its way toward an increase in political participation.   We can do better than 57 percent.   The more people engage, the more people will be informed.  The more people who vote that are informed is even better.  There is nothing worse than an uninformed voter. 


Other things i must consider in the creation of a site include; developing ways to reach an audience.  I could harness social media to launch an announcement by FB messaging all my contacts for example.  In that same way i could use the power of email to appeal to friends and family to help spread the word, like those chain emails that go around. Lastly, i could use the oldest networking trick in the book, a business card.

Speaking of networking, the reading suggested networking by reaching out to others with similar sites to the idea.  I put together a list of similar site as potential contacts:

The last, and perhaps most important question is “How do keep audiences coming back?”  Like trying to keep a marriage interesting after the honeymoon period.  I considered the suggestions in the book like the Blog or a comment section, but thought that may be too risky considering the subject matter.  Campaign’s are hotly contested events.  Though i am sure the commentary would be quite entertaining.  The best thing to keep it interesting is to keep updating the site.  That certainly would not be hard with new presidential campaigns kicking off every 2 years.

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