By Harveen Ahluwalia
Mint, New Delhi
In the wake of ongoing assembly polls, online media companies across the country have gone hyperlocal in their election coverage on digital and social media platforms in a bid to attract younger audiences.
Giving up television cameras and broadcast vans, the companies have taken to mobile phone cameras to cover the elections at a local level.
India Today group-owned Hindi news website The Lallantop.com recently announced an exclusive partnership with social media platform Facebook to cover Uttar Pradesh assembly elections from 72 districts using Facebook Live–a feature that enables users to interact with the viewers in real time through live videos. These videos are shared on Facebook India page as well.
Quintillion Media Pvt. Ltd-owned news website thequint.com has also taken a similar approach. The company in partnership with journalist Barkha Dutt launched the show On The Road with Barkha to cover UP polls and bring out ‘extensive ground reports’ using mobile phone cameras.
Industry executives said that idea is to go where television channels are not going, to change the election narrative from ‘dry candidate statements to humane and emotional stories’ and to attract younger audiences which are consuming maximum content online.
“The ‘Facebook’ generation of audiences is consuming very local content. Election coverage by news channels has to take into account national interest and they can’t become hyperlocal. With The Lallantop.com, the narrative has changed. There are no cameras, just Facebook live videos,” said Kallie Purie, group editorial director, broadcast and new media, India Today Group.
For instance, The Lallantop.com is conducting on-ground events in different cities namely Bareilly, Lucknow, Gorakhpur and Varanasi which include talk shows on political stories, importance of voting and people manifesto among other things. Apart from that, the election team of the company is posting at least three live videos on Facebook every day–interviewing people and conducting quiz contests and competitions to engage audiences.