For the first time, the White House released the full text of the State of the Union to the public in advance of the President's address.
|One of nearly a dozen social media graphics available|
via the State of the Union address on Medium.com.
Typically embargoed, the State of the Union this time was shared a few minutes (22 minutes to be exact, according to USA Today) ahead of the live broadcast on Medium, a free blogging platform open to the masses. It came complete with Twitter-ready graphics.
So why the break from tradition? Here's what the White House wrote on Medium:
There is a ritual on State of the Union night in Washington. A little before the address, the White House sends out an embargoed copy of the President’s speech to the press (embargoed means that the press can see the speech, but they can’t report on it until a designated time). The reporters then start sending it around town to folks on Capitol Hill to get their reaction, then those people send it to all their friends, and eventually everyone in Washington can read along, but the public remains in the dark.
For the first time, the White House is making the full text of the speech available to citizens around the country online. On Medium, you can follow along with the speech as you watch in real time, view charts and infographics on key areas, tweet favorite lines, and leave notes. By making the text available to the public in advance, the White House is continuing efforts to reach a wide online audience and give people a range of ways to consume the speech.
The New York Times reports the Obama administration put a new spin on its communications strategy for the State of the Union as part of an attempt to bring "a classic old-media event" to new audiences. How well did that strategy work this year? Probably not well, figuring most people probably just stumbled upon it as they were scanning their Twitter feed. (At least I did.) But next year, more will be on the lookout.