Reckon by AL.com's Alabama Senate Editorial Campaign
Media associated with this campaign
Overview of this campaign
In few states do politicians try to exploit mistrust of media as they do in Alabama. To combat that history and reengage our local audience, Alabama Media Group developed "Reckon by AL.com" in 2017. After a quiet launch on Facebook in May, Reckon quickly grew to become the statewide clearinghouse for impact journalism – the best journalism created in or written about Alabama. The brand developed a reputation for informative and engaging video journalism but the first true test for audience trust came during the heated senate race between Roy Moore and Doug Jones.
We knew that political operatives aligned with the Moore campaign were utilizing social media to misinform Alabamians that the claims of sexual harassment brought against him by multiple women had been “debunked.” To combat those efforts, we took our campaign directly to social media, producing videos designed to address the false claims made by Moore and reiterate the credibility of his accusers.
There were two key goals of this editorial campaign: establish with our audience that the reporting about Roy Moore was credible and that we found Moore to be unfit for office for his record on human rights.
Through video, we reached readers that may have been vulnerable to misinformation campaigns. We used video clips and clear language to demonstrate that Moore’s denials did not add up and that the allegations brought against him were credible.
Results for this campaign
In less than a year, Reckon grew past 34,000 followers on Facebook, well past our initial expectations. We predicted 6 million video views in one year. Instead, we saw 8 million views in 8 months. We far exceeded our expectations on most metrics, including 645,000 social interactions in the first eight months.
But more notably, there was an obvious impact on Alabama's election. In the December 12 election, Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore by a margin of just 1.5 percent.
While national media focused on the fact that 68 percent of white voters voted for Moore, a more detailed look at the exit polls showed that Jones won every demographic of voters under the age of 45, highlighting the success of our socially-focused campaign.