Tag Archives: D.C.; Washington D.C.; USA

A digital election day puts focus on social media

Close-up on election day

By Phoebe Chau and Ryan Fung

Election day was finally here. After a two-hour drive from D.C., we arrived at Omni Richmond Hotel, Virginia, where the Republican Party was to hold its election party.

The weather was cold, but the hotel was filled with passionate supporters and hard-working reporters from all over the States. As the only Hong Kong media here, we worked with Voice of America to cover the election online.

To try to boost readership, we used social media tools like Facebook and Twitter to do live reporting from the site. At the hotel, we saw most people carrying smartphones, not digital cameras. We thus believe that the importance of social media will only become greater in the near future.

Staying at one of the tables for the press, we enjoy our experience in doing live reporting for the U.S. presidential election.

Blue or red? Political choice is everything in DC, even at stores

By Edith Leung

In the run-up to election day, people can not only vote early at the polls, they can also vote with their wallets at restaurants and other stores.

The lime burrito (left) represents Obama, and the queso burrito is for Romney.

At Columbia Heights in Washington D.C., the restaurant Lime Fresh Mexican Grill offers two flavors of burritos, queso flavor for Mitt Romney and lime flavor for Barack Obama. One of the workers, Sarah Issa, said that the queso burrito is more popular than the lime burrito. So does that mean Lime Fresh’s customers are mostly Republican?

“Though the queso is more popular, people here are usually Democrats. It is just an advertising strategy,” said Issa.

A 24-year old American banker, Michael Walker, also said that he purchased his burrito for its flavor, not for its political gimmick. “I am still undecided between the two candidates,” said Walker.

Beyond taste, the shop also raised funds for the two parties, and customers’ political leanings were more obvious: the Republican piggy bank was empty.

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A morning with ‘The Washington Post’: From print to digital

By Jennifer Tang

As journalism students in Hong Kong, we haven’t had the chance to see inside a foreign newsroom.  That changed on Thursday morning, when we were very lucky to get a glimpse inside The Washington Post, and see how this Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper operates.

First, we observed that the working hours of a U.S. newsroom is quite different from those in Hong Kong. Staff at The Washington Post start very early in the morning (many of them at 9 am), and typically get off work at around 6:30 pm on a usual day. This is not atypical of media in the U.S.  Journalists in Hong Kong usually start in the afternoon and stay until midnight, which is when stories are completed and the newspaper is ready to go to print.

Although the media in the U.S. and Hong Kong are both moving towards digitalization, they are doing so very differently. Hong Kong newspapers are moving online and incorporating more multimedia elements such as video to their reporting, but most of the newspapers don’t have their own studio and produce their own programs. In contrast, The Washington Post has their own studio for recording short videos and programs. They even have a team that specializes and focuses on social media. Impressive stuff.

“We manage Twitter accounts, the Facebook page, GooglePlus, and produce all the Google hangouts,” said Hayley Crum, engagement producer at The Washington Post. “At first when social media became kind of big, people just pushed out content. (They were essentially saying) this is what we have, here’s the link to it, and we hope you’ll click on it. But it’s not enough anymore, you really have to engage your audience and create a sense of community, and it’s like they have to be invested in your journalism, so now we interact with them a lot and we try to retweet people or give them a shout out.”

“We also use it as a news gathering tool, so a lot of our reporters will tell readers, ‘If you are at a certain place, tell us what you were thinking, send us photos and videos.’ Now we have all these readers who help us (provide content), and we are going to utilize this (material) and be the first people to publish it,” Crum said.

The visit to The Washington Post was an eye-opening experience. I came away thinking that the media in the U.S. is overall more sophisticated, and they are serious about moving from the paper/traditional media to digital.

Arriving in the US capital

8:30 am
Washington D.C. — The HKSYU student reporting team and I arrived in DC last night at 10 pm. By 11 pm, we were safely checked into the hotel. What a great neighborhood and good hotel. The wireless is excellent. My good friend from Westlake High School journalism days met us at the hotel with “Introduction to D.C.” goody bags (map, newspapers, bottle of water and all).

As travel goes, everything went smoothly and swiftly. The only lengthy queues that we saw were at San Francisco International Airport going through security, but even then we had enough time to experience a sample of San Francisco with an iced caffee latte at Peet’s Coffee topped with a blueberry muffin.

The flight from San Francisco to D.C. was smooth and not packed — entire rows were open and the cabin crew was really friendly.

Now on this relatively quiet Sunday morning, we are headed on a local tour courtesy of Mr. Naughton. We will get our smartphones carded up and connected, see a bit of the city, and then buy snacks at Target. Target is part of the U.S. cultural experience. D.C. here we come.