Transparency and accuracy were the cornerstones of our Decision 2012 election coverage. "We tried to bring the issues to life," says Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC. "We sent shows around the country to talk to real communities about real problems and generate interest." In the course of providing unfiltered information directly to voters, our respected hosts and journalists helped viewers understand each issue and its relevance. "The power of MSNBC is in putting smart, passionate people on the air who always do their homework," Phil says.
Touring communities and discussing real issues reaffirmed the need for diverse perspectives in our Decision 2012 coverage. "We want to reflect America in the 21st century," Phil says. "So not only do our hosts represent the diversity of this country, but so do our guests and the issues we cover."
Comcast also launched new programming resources to help our customers stay informed. Election Central, a programming package offered on XFINITY TV, allowed viewers to watch 2012 election coverage 24/7 on their computers, televisions, and mobile devices. The programming included live breaking news, speeches, debates, and election results.
Beyond just reporting on the candidates and issues, we felt a responsibility to help people register to vote and navigate what can feel like a complex, intimidating process.
NBCUniversal created Make It Personal, a campaign to empower voters with valuable tools and resources. Topics in this series included voter registration, candidate profiles, and election laws. Make it Personal also featured voting facts along with answers to common questions, such as where to vote, what to bring to the polls, and how to obtain an absentee ballot. Our broadcast and cable networks and our owned-and-operated local TV stations adopted this campaign to reach the largest possible audience with practical tools to help them feel prepared to vote.
These election-focused tools and resources played a pivotal role in helping NBC Latino, a website dedicated to delivering news that affects the Hispanic community, bring to life political issues that voters care about. "Our goal was to take issues beyond the usual conversation," says Chris Peña, Executive Editor of NBC Latino. "There are stereotypes that Hispanics only care about certain issues, like immigration laws, and that they only follow news in Spanish."
NBC Latino sought to counter these stereotypes by broadening the scope of its election stories while also ensuring the coverage remained accessible and relevant. "There has been a lack of information geared toward Hispanic voters," says Chris, "but as the demographic grows, so does the content."
Telemundo, one of our Spanish-language channels, also developed the Vota por tu Futuro (Vote for Your Future) campaign to help mobilize and educate Hispanic voters. Many affiliates adopted this multiplatform campaign, which reached a widespread audience and resulted in more than 40,000 Hispanics registering to vote.
Comcast took additional steps to educate and empower first-time voters. We worked with partners like Rock the Vote, ourtime.org, and the National Constitution Center to collect and distribute election-related content across multiple outlets on multiple platforms. The campaign generated more than 2 million impressions, including 83,000 views through XFINITY On Demand.
As the political landscape constantly shifts, Comcast and NBCUniversal remain focused on delivering programs and resources that empower our audiences.
"We can’t be stuck in the past," Phil says of MSNBC’s approach. "If we want to educate and empower Americans in the 21st century, we need to embrace change, not hide from it."