As part of our effort to report on social media trends, tools, and technology, we will be periodically recognizing politicians, candidates, and political organizations who are utilizing social media in effective and creative ways.
Evan Vucci (@evanvucci)
Social Media Stats:
Photo Likes: 25,000+
“We launched #aponthetrail at the conventions because they are a colorful spectacle with an eclectic mix of personalities. It’s an interesting slice of Americana,” he said, “but there is a sameness to political coverage: The meat and potatoes of it is people on stages, microphones, confetti. Instagram allows us to complement that coverage with humor, quirkiness, details. It’s another dish on the buffet of coverage.” – Director of photography at the AP Santiago Lyon, to the Columbia Journalism Review
Instagram, which is a free downloadable app for smartphones, allows you to take photos, apply a filter, and chronicle your experiences on your unique profile, much like Facebook. Like Twitter, you can interact with other users by “liking” or commenting in real time via your newsfeed. The app creates a more personal form of social networking, and as the general election nears, has gradually been making its way into politics.
Why he made the cut:
Evan Vucci, like many, first began using Instagram primarily as a way to keep in contact with friends and family. While working as an Associated Press staff photographer on the campaign trail, however, he has expanded his use to include behind the scenes photos that are assuredly plentiful, yet rarely publicized.
“I started using it to take fun pictures that I wouldn’t normally send to the wire, and as a way to contact everybody,” Vucci said. “But now you’re seeing photographers from all over using it to share their assignments.”
Proving that Instagram users are interested in gaining insight into the lifestyle of a photojournalist, Vucci gained 9,000 followers after his profile was featured on Instagram’s suggested list. Now, with a strong 18,000 user following, Vucci continues to post photos on his account at least twice a day. Some of his latest photos include shots of the press being security swept by Romney’s team and the wide variety of electronics needed on any given day as a photographer.
What was first used for social networking has now evolved into an outlet for photo journalism. It is fitting that the Associated Press, one of the oldest and largest news organizations, is making an attempt to bridge the gap between social media, politics, and news journalism. Vucci is one of the seven AP staffers to begin posting photos on the campaign trail using the hashtag #aponthetrail. Similar to the Washington Post’s #2012unfiltered, the hashtag will be an efective way to archive the many photos posted by the photographers.
Evan Vucci has made a splash in the Instagram world, documenting his life in an occupation that just so happens to be politically oriented. His popularity on the app shows that photos depicting the raw side of politics are popular, sometimes even more so than the staged images printed in magazines and newspapers. With the close of the national conventions, and all the confetti and balloons they include, journalists such as Evan Vucci make this week’s Social Spotlight for being a figure in paving the way for more truthful non-partisan news reporting.
AP photographers on Instagram reporting and using #aponthetrail include J. David Ake, Carolyn Kaster, Charles Dharapak, Kasie Hunt, Mary Altaffer, and Jae C. Hong.