President Obama is set to make his fifth State of the Union Address tonight and news organizations will be competing for viewers before, during, and after the speech. While social activity may not be as pronounced as it was during President Obama’s three debates with Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential race, viewers will certainly be turning to Twitter to offer and glean reactions.
As part of its coverage plans, then, news organizations must consider not only how to hold the attention of its linear audience, but also how to engage with its digital audience. Last year, CNN accomplished this with a #TweetOfTheUnion page on CNN.com, which allowed users to track in real-time the reactions to the address by members of Congress.This year, CNN Digital will allow people to stream the speech live and unauthenticated on CNN.com and CNN’s mobile apps. CNN coverage will also feature a ‘PoliCast’ – a companion livestream hosted by Peter Hamby. Former Obama White House spokesman Tommy Vietor and Republican strategist Tim Miller will join Hamby, and they will offer commentary during the speech and during the GOP response.
The trio will monitor the social media reaction to the speech and are inviting those who would like to participate in the ‘PoliCast’ to tweet at them using hashtag #CNNSOTU.