AP: Cultural Themes Drive Presidential Race

Posted on 1/31/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

This week the Associated Press jump into election-dedicated media coverage with the launch of The Measure of a Nation. The yearlong multimedia project is billed as an unusual, regularly updated guide to the American presidency.

The Measure of a Nation offers magazine-style news and blog articles, accompanied by images, audio and video in multiple combinations. The project embodies the concept of money in politics, as it exemplifies the myriad economic opportunities a presidential election offers to creatives and photographers.

From a creative research standpoint, stock shooters and agencies may find this project particularly interesting; it identifies nine themes likely to influence people's minds and votes. The issues of concern are: accountability, authenticity, America's place in the world, change and anxiety, fragmentation, politics' effect on culture, historical parallels and beliefs.

The series officially launches Feb. 1, with an in-depth piece on the cult of the American presidency. Attempting to put the top job in its historical and cultural context, the essay is accompanied by a five-part video mini-documentary in which online producer Jaime Holguin investigates presidential mythology in Abraham Lincoln's hometown in Illinois. An audio slideshow depicts how images of Lincoln evolved in America and other multimedia stories, helping to help illustrate the connection between the presidency and popular culture.

AP managing editor Kristin Gazlay said the project's goal is to build a sociological snapshot of life in America during a profound period of change.

A number of image-driven businesses and photographers have already made an investment in covering the election. Corbis and Getty Images launched political mini-sites. News agencies from Abaca to Zuma offer varying but extensive election coverage. Award-winning photojournalists are similarly engaged. One example is the ongoing coverage by Noor's Samantha Appleton, who has shot a number of related stories, most recently focused on Barack Obama.

Still, the industry's focus has largely been on the documentary, reportorial side of the image business. The foundation of The Measure of a Nation offers creative-stock retailers much food for thought.

Copyright © 2008 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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