White House PRs break new media ground
US President Barack Obama’s press team left no stone unturned in making sure his June 4 Cairo speech was seen, heard and read by as many people across the Muslim world as possible.
The day before Obama went to Cairo, the White House website posted videos showing American Muslims who work for the government talking about the harmony that exists between their faith and national identity. The videos were also broadcast on the White House’s YouTube video site and on social networking site Facebook.
The Obama press team did everything possible to make sure journalists, especially in the Arab world, had all the tools possible to disseminate his message as soon as it was said. The transcript of the entire speech (to which he stuck rigidly) was sent around the world in four languages (English, Arabic, Farsi and Urdu), hours before Obama actually took to the stage.
Traditional media was by no means the only target. With strong reminders of Obama’s successful online campaign during the 2008 presidential elections, the message was given full coverage by text message and on popular websites including Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
Mobile phone could get text messages containing carefully selected tit-bits from the speech, in real time, by registering their numbers with the White House. Similar messages were diffused on the White House's Facebook page, as well as on Twitter, a site that allows users to post short messages known as ‘tweets’.
The interest was such that no television station wanted to miss out on the message. Television channels across the Muslim world broadcast the speech live, including Al-Manar, the channel of Lebanese group Hezbollah, as well as Al-Alam, the Iranian state news channel.