Tangi School Tax Update – 5/2/11

New media played central role in historic tax election

On one side of the campaign were newspaper and radio ads, direct mail, and by some measures, an almost unlimited budget.

On the other side were a couple of web sites, Facebook, two cable TV channels and YouTube.

Not only did the new media win, but it wasn’t even close.

Tangipahoa voters rejected four school board tax propositions by 87.5%, arguably the largest margin of defeat for any tax in the parish’s history.

But in past years when newspapers and direct mail were dominant, such an outcome would have been unthinkable.

To say the least, Wayne Glascock and Ken Benitez are happy about the election. The two local broadcasters are partners in Internet television and local news online, and they admittedly used their media to relentlessly cover the election. In particular, they provided most of the media by which tax opponents spread their message.

Benitez has worked in local radio, television, and print for almost 30 years, but he now says, “The Internet has trumped everything.”

His ActionNews17.com is now averaging 12 million hits per month, “And that impact was obvious in the election results.”

Glascock, who has been active in politics for many years, says he has never seen a campaign like the school board tax election.

“The school board had a pre-established and openly discussed budget of $100,000, not counting what was spent by any special interest parties who wanted to pass the taxes. We made a decision early on that we wouldn’t accept a penny. Our motive was simply to do the right thing, and it provided a great demonstration project for our new media. We simply believed, based on numerous tax elections over the last 10 years, that without our coverage, the school board would have passed the biggest local tax increase in the state’s history”.

Unlike past Vote No efforts, there was no fund-raising committee to collect money. Instead, people literally bought or built their own yard signs.

The pair were in the process of developing new programming and features for their respective media venues when the tax package came back to the table for a very public vote.

The videos popped up on Facebook walls throughout the parish as younger voters started their own “linking” campaign to spread the word.

Even the local NAACP, which operates its own website, http://www.EyesNowWideOpen.org, linked AN17’s videos on their site.

The new media linking opportunities were endless, Glascock said.

One Response to “Tangi School Tax Update – 5/2/11”

  1. Comcast Cable TV Says:

    Comcast Cable TV…

    […]Tangi School Tax Update – 5/2/11 « Lincoln Parish News Online[…]…

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