New Media Plays Significant Role In Election as Our Community Grows


A new Pew Center for the People and the Press poll demonstrates what our experience at RH Reality Check has been over the past few months, and what any online reader already knows — the internet has changed American politics and public policy forever.

From Pew:

A solid majority of voters (59%) say they have sought out election
content online or had some type of online communication about the
campaign. Younger voters and Democrats are outpacing older voters and
Republicans in using the internet for campaign information and
activity. The use of online video has exploded, and significant numbers
of voters have visited candidate websites and read blogs about the
campaign …. Overall, 39% of voters say they have watched some type of
campaign-related video online. In December, 24% had done so. There has
been an increase in viewing of all types of campaign videos, including
candidate speeches (28% now, up from 14%), interviews (27%, up from
14%), campaign commercials (21%, up from 12%), and candidate debates
(23% now, 12% in December).
Nearly one-in-four voters (23%) have visited a candidate’s website;
in November, just 16% had done this. And 27% have read blogs about
politics and the campaign.

RH Reality Check continues learning and growing its niche in the new media world for people interested in sexual and reproductive health policies based on individual liberty, medical facts, scientific evidence and proven public health strategies.  As a niche publication our community is comprised of experts in the sexual and reproductive health field, and people interested in the impact of these polices on their lives and the lives of people around the world.

Our growth reflects an increasing desire for factual information and commentary about these very personal issues. In the month of September 2008, we had 204,039 page views, up from 53,572 in September of 2007, a 380 percent increase.  Those pageviews were generated by 118,098 unique visitors, up from 23,815, for a 495 percent increase over September of the previous year.  We recently registered our 10,000th comment, and know that there is no shortage of opinions from our community of experts, so we hope to hear more from you!

After just two short years, we believe we have built a solid foundation on which to continue building in an incresingly competitive new media world.

Reality Check VideosReality Check VideosAs indicated in the Pew poll, RH Reality Check is keeping pace with online video, introducing two new series of videos. Amanda Marcotte hosts the "Reality Check" series taking on the basic social conservative misinformation put out by the far-right. In conjunction with Stuart Productions, we are producing the "Our Reality" series which moves beyond politics and ideology to tell powerful personal stories about sexual and reproductive health issues people face every day.

Our Reality VideosOur Reality VideosBoth of these series have just launched and we encourage you to view them all, embed them on your site, share them in emails, on Facebook, MySpace and rate them on other social networking sites.

The real success of new media strategies is not the content you see here on RH Reality Check — we don’t want to be an electronic version of a static newspaper — it is what you as an active member of the RH Reality Check community does with the content many of you help produce.

Your active participation in RH Reality Check is encouraged in commenting, helping to counter the misinformation from the opposition or offering different points of view on policies within the community. Beyond that, sharing the content you like on RH Reality Check on your personal blogs, or Facebook, using the "Share This" tool found in each post to email articles, videos, or podcasts to friends, and becoming active participants in Digg, Stumble Upon, Reddit, Yahoo Buzz and other networking sites. By regularly submitting and "voting up" RH Reality Check content you read, view or listen to, on social networking sites you can help promote greater understanding of sexual and reproductive health. The more people who actively participate everyday, the more people we all reach.

It is through social networking that we reach beyond the community to help get evidence-based information to more people. For example, our most recent case study: When age appropriate comprehensive sexuality education was getting bashed in attack ads on TV from the McCain campaign, Dr. Carlton Veazey from the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice had the perfect response, and through social networking successes, his piece reached tens of thousands of people looking for context and understanding. The personal nature of his post touched many people, presumably some who had experience with abuse as a child, and understood the importance of age appropriate sex ed.

Old media is about writing opeds and hoping the legacy media Gods smile upon you. How many drafts do you have in your files? New media is about active participation, interaction, taking responsibility for sharing content, joining a conversation that puts all the accumulated expertise of our community at the finger tips of every person seeking to grow in understanding.

We’ve got a good start, thanks to many people who took a risk on RH Reality Check when our numbers were much lower.  We know we haven’t even come close to reaching our full potential, and the truth is we’re in an uphill challenge in an increasingly competitive new media world. With your continued acceptance of new media strategies and social networking, on a daily basis, we’re convinced we can and will make a positive, progressive difference on these issues moving forward.

Sign up for concise daily email headlines.

Join us on Facebook.

Follow us on Twitter.

See and share the "Reality Check" video series.

See and share the "Our Reality" video series.

Look for us on You Tube or Vimeo.

Listen to Amanda Marcotte’s weekly podcast, "RealityCast".

Sign up for an RSS feed of all our content.

Most importantly, take time to become a more active part of the new media world and promote the progressive ideas and policies you care about everyday. RH Reality Check is only as vibrant and successful as its growing online community! 

And finally, a giant THANK YOU to the many members of our community who already dedicate much valuable time and thought to RH Reality Check.  You know who you are and please know that we appreciate you very much!

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To schedule an interview with Scott Swenson please contact Communications Director Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.