The Republican Party is holding its national convention Aug. 27-30 in Tampa, Fla. The Democratic Party follows with its convention Sept. 4-6 in Charlotte, N.C.
The AP has covered every presidential race since 1848 -- the first election in which all U.S. states voted on the same day. From the 1800s to the present day, the AP’s delegate count leading up to the conventions, its coverage of the events and their meaning have been a critical part of the country’s election history.
“As the media landscape has changed so rapidly over the years, we have innovated to ensure we bring customers and consumers what they truly want from the political conventions,” said Sally Buzbee, AP’s Washington bureau chief.
“Our journalists’ goal is to provide insightful, accurate reports that connect convention events with the larger campaign and culture, and to offer real-time tidbits suitable for sharing, especially across the social space,” Buzbee said.
Here are highlights of AP’s 2012 convention coverage plans:
- AP’s Live Desk will offer a continuous flow of short-form color, updates and observations each evening as the conventions unfold. These brief “Eyes on the Convention” reports will work in tandem with AP stories, allowing customers who check in regularly -- especially on mobile devices -- to see what’s happening at a glance. "Eyes on the Convention" will be distributed on all major AP services. The effort is modeled on "Eyes on London,” the Live Desk service that AP launched at the Summer Olympics.
- AP will have a dedicated group of journalists focused on getting beyond the conventions’ scripted political narratives, providing explanatory material including Fact Checks and behind-the-scenes looks such as live blogging and photo galleries.
- AP’s popular news app, AP Mobile, downloaded by more than 11 million users across all mobile platforms, has expanded its offerings to provide a complete conventions section under the "2012 Presidential Race" tab, which will feature text, photos, interactives and video. You can download the app at www.getapmobile.com.
- AP video will capture convention news for the first time in high-definition video, now delivered to AP broadcast customers following a phased rollout begun nine months ago. AP has made an investment of $30 million over the past three years to convert all of its video ingestion, production and playout to HD.
- HTML interactives – seamlessly viewable across platforms, from desktops to phones to tablets – will be provided by AP for the first time at political conventions. An "On the Trail" interactive will showcase the work of AP photojournalists in a dynamic grid design, capturing candid moments at the conventions using Instagram, the popular photo-sharing mobile app.
- AP's Big Story microsite will dedicate a section to the conventions under the Presidential Politics tab. The section will be curated daily and include text, photos, video and tweets. Responsive design ensures that the site will look as good on a tablet or smartphone as it does on a desktop. See the microsite at http://bigstory.ap.org.
Additional AP coverage plans:
- A new daily text feature, “5 Things to Watch For,” will run during the conventions, underscoring the top things expected each day. It will move on AP’s wires and mobile platform around 5 a.m. ET in the United States. It will build on the AP’s “10 Things to Know,” a rundown of the top items of the day, which has become one of the more popular features among customers and readers – particularly on mobile devices.
- AP Daybook calendars listing each convention’s daily floor schedules, plus schedules for the presidential and vice presidential candidates, demonstrations and media briefings will begin running daily before each convention starts.
- Spot coverage will include gavel-to-gavel coverage of the conventions -- plus breaking news such as demonstrations outside the convention halls -- across all formats: video, radio, text, broadcast wire and interactives.
- AP’s premium election service, Campaign Plus, which provides additional special content around elections, will produce an interactive guide to the 2012 campaign during the conventions. All “Campaign Plus” interactives are produced in HTML 5, optimized for use on mobile devices and tablets, including the iPad. The Race Rundown interactive will feature text, photos, video and tweets from the conventions. The premium service also includes a wide range of elections research data, most of it unique to AP.
- GraphicsBank, AP’s video graphics service, will provide static and animated elements throughout the conventions. Customers can already access preparatory material such as headshots and symbols.
- AP's Global Media Services will be offering live facilities and workspace to international broadcasters at both conventions, including live positions from skyboxes overlooking the main stage as well as from the floor of the main arenas. For the first time GMS will work in one space with all AP platforms, providing broadcast clients with AP's technical and editorial expertise.
- To assist in convention coverage, AP has compiled a U.S. Elections Style Guide: http://bit.ly/Mrvs5u. Many of the entries are drawn from the AP Stylebook: http://apstylebook.com.
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