New Microsoft Apps Marks New Era in Caucus Results Reporting

Microsoft has teamed up with Internology to create a series of innovative new apps that will assist Iowa’s 1,784 precincts in speedily reporting results on Caucus day. These apps, which are available on Apple, Android, and Microsoft platforms, will help precincts speed up and simplify reporting of caucus results, which have been criticized for being slow and inaccurate in previous Caucuses. Another set of apps specifically designed for each party will allow party leaders to independently verify results as they are reported. In the old system of results reporting, precincts used automated phone systems that required users to dial in results to party headquarters. As a backup, paper ballots were sent by mail. That system has created numerous reporting errors in past Caucuses, since individual precincts had no unified results verification system.

Microsoft’s new applications allow both Democrats and Republicans to report their results securely and accurately, according to each party’s unique Caucus rules. Another app will allow reporters and the general public to view results precinct-by-precinct as they come in. Anomalous results are flagged by Microsoft’s app and are sent to the respective party’s chairman to review. A variety of other safety measures are in place to ensure that each precinct reviews and reports their results as accurately as possible. Paper ballots will still be used as a safety-net, though it takes up to two days for those ballots to be counted and verified. Party leaders have maintained that accuracy will supersede timeliness, and no results will be reported until they have been fully implemented, even if that means no winners will be announced on the day of the Caucus.

Training workshops for precinct captains is already underway, with Microsoft sending their experts to each precinct to ensure the technology will be fully implemented on February 1st. Microsoft will not disclose the cost to make and manage the app and the results, however they made clear that neither the parties nor the state of Iowa funded the project.

Larry Wilmore to Host 2016 White House Correspondents’ Dinner

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On April 30th Larry Wilmore will host the 101st White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The White House Correspondents’ Association has selected Comedy Central’s “Nightly Show” host to headline the star-studded event featuring President Obama.

WHCA President, Carol Lee, said of Wednesday’s announcement, “Larry’s edgy, even provocative, brand of humor means he’s certainly up to the task of skewering politicians of all ideological stripes, and we don’t expect the nation’s news media to escape unscathed, either.”

Halperin & Heilemann Twice as Nice! MSNBC to Re-Air “With All Due Respect” Weeknights at 6pm

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Bloomberg’s flagship politics show will find a second home on MSNBC. The channel will re-air “With All Due Respect”, featuring Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, will continue to air on Bloomberg weeknights at 5pm. Starting in January MSNBC will fill up the 6pm vacancy left by Al Sharpton’s “Politics Nation” with a re-airing of Halperin and Heilemann’s show, which has been expanded from its original 30 minutes to a full hour.

Andrew Lack, of NBC News and MSNBC, released a statement saying, “I’ve known and respected Mark and John’s work for many years. Collaborating with them on our air will strengthen our already deep and experienced political lineup as MSNBC heads into a pivotal election year.”

Justin B. Smith, Bloomberg Media CEO, said of the announcement, “This is a natural extension of the Bloomberg Politics brand for us. ‘With All Due Respect’ has been a strong multi-platform success story, and we welcome this opportunity to expand its reach to new audiences through this partnership with MSNBC.”

New Leaders of the Press Pack! Pew Says Traditional Reporters Outnumbered, New Era in Capitol Hill Journalism

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A new study from Pew Research Center found that reporters from niche outlets and digital news publishers outnumber daily newspaper reporters, marking a shift in the makeup of the press corps from previous years. Pew reports that the number of journalists on the Hill that produce local coverage fell from around 200 in the mid-90s to just under 60 by 2015. As of 2014, 32% of reporters in the Senate Press Gallery were daily newspaper publications, in contrast to the 37% of reports from digital and niche publications.

The evolution in the makeup of the Washington press corps signifies a shift in the ways Americans consume news. So called “digital-native” outlets have increased from just 2 in 2009 to over 70 in 2014. According to Pew, “Reporters for broad-interest news websites have only emerged in the Washington press corps in recent years. These are outlets such as The Huffington Post and Buzzfeed that publish on a daily basis and aim for a general audience.”

In an effort to understand the implications for local communities, Pew studied coverage of the federal government in eight local newspapers from across the United States, four of which maintain DC reports on staff and four that don’t. Their findings reveal that 71% of stories from DC reporters contained quotes directly from a member of Congress, three times more than the rate at which reporters outside the Beltway did.

Pew also found that non-DC reporters are much more likely to tie stories from the Hill to the implications they might have for citizens, while DC-based reporters were more likely to address the the impact a particular story had on the politicians involved. The study claims that the dwindling number of DC-based reporters and the increasing reliance of wire-based services makes it more difficult for local publications to deliver clear and consistent coverage of politicians on the Hill.

The results of the poll can be found here: http://www.journalism.org/2015/12/03/todays-washington-press-corps-more-digital-specialized/?utm_source=Pew+Research+Center&utm_campaign=6316aa58cd-Weekly_Dec_3_201512_3_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3e953b9b70-6316aa58cd-399587233

Brad Dayspring joins POLITICO

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Tammy Haddad, Michael Steele, Brad Dayspring, Lauren Pratapas

Brad Dayspring, a longtime vocal advocate for Republican House members, is Politico’s new press hire. Dayspring most recently worked for the Walker campaign.

Dayspring, a regular at the annual White House Correspondents Garden Brunch, is married to Jake Tapper’s CNN press representative, Lauren Pratapas. In the photo above, they are featured at the Veep premiere party held at Dog Tag Bakery.

Another top politico joins the tech ranks; Blumenthal to SurveyMonkey

Mark Blumenthal will leave his post as senior editor at The Huffington Post to join SurveyMonkey as its first head of election polling.

via politico.com:

“The move is a sign that, amid a period of intense change in the way pollsters collect data, SurveyMonkey — which began as a simple online survey tool — is beefing up its political polling.

“SurveyMonkey has spent the past few years trying to leverage the millions of people who participate in surveys on its website — with clients from Little League coaches to large corporations — into the political space. At the same time, as traditional telephone polling has faltered following the growth of cellphones and Americans’ increasing unwillingness to participate in polls, online surveys are more accepted now than they have been in past election cycles.”

“I’ve known Mark for a long time, and the opportunity came up to have him spearhead our efforts,” said Jon Cohen, vice president of survey research at SurveyMonkey. “Mark has been the foremost chronicler over the past decade of the changes in our industry.”

“We’re investing in elections by leveraging the unique data sources that we have, and how we can parlay that into changing survey research more broadly,” Cohen said.

Read more via politico.com: SurveyMonkey swipes HuffPost’s Blumenthal to expand election polling

GOP Debate: From a Future Voter

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“The most exciting thing about covering politics is that it unfolds in front of you, you never know what could happen.” My mother’s voice carried through the crisp Cleveland morning, bouncing off the grey walls of Quicken Loans Arena, or “The Q”. I nodded, shrugging it off in all my teenage glory. While mom can’t help me with my trigonometry, she really does know quite a bit about the campaign trail.

Upon entering the hall, it was impossible not to absorb the dynamic energy exuded by the audience. I never would have expected such vibrancy from the endless sea of suits. The moderators were seated, turning to face the crowd. They introduced themselves as if there were no stage, no debate, or even an audience; I realized they were talking to the TV cameras. The astounding cheer after FOX’s Megyn Kelly finished her greeting was a sign of what was yet to come in the first GOP Debate of the 2016 Election.

The room fell silent with the first question, the crowd desperately taking in the candidate’s words until the bell rang signifying the candidate’s time to answer was up; the rush to finish their thought made those words sound more like “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

Donald Trump provided a much needed contrast, even though his presence was disruptive to the serious and staged nature of the event. He has become the symbol of the distress and delusion of the American people, desperate for a new direction. America needs big changes, and Donald Trump is a living hyperbole. Mr. Trump and his debate theatrics highlight the need for a pragmatic leader.

Standing a few podiums away from Mr. Trump was Senator Marco Rubio, whose velveteen voice and eloquence made him seem all the more presidential. Former Governor Jeb Bush was criticized for being slightly shaky and seemed all knowing in comparison to Donald Trump. Mr. Trump provided this service to other candidates as well, making Governor Chris Christie seem more intellectual, and Dr. Ben Carson seem more qualified, securing the aura of what an experienced politician should be. This debate was the unfolding of my own political views, the unfolding of my journalistic aspirations, and what the campaign trail is really like.

This debate was also an introduction to both the Republican Party and election politics as a whole. The phenomenon of petty political parties resided in my mind for many years, flirting with stereotypes and labeled as the price of Democracy. This image has been torn to pieces by the riveting reality of the way this great nation chooses its leaders. And while I may be spending the majority of the road to 2016 in a classroom, one thing stands true, this election season will unfold before the American people with unprecedented vigor, and anything could happen. Just like my mother said.

Follow Volta Insider on Twitter @VOLTAINSIDER. Volta Insider is Rachel Greenberg’s podcast, which creates a web of intriguing interviews on the ever-changing realms of art, innovation, and politics.

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