Give your users what they want! Reflections on Spanish Presidential Campaign
Our last discussion about political websites inspires me to write this post. As the nature of politics (especially in election´s time) is trying to convince and persuade hesitant targets, politician´s websites has become just a traditional one way communication channel where politicians try to sell their ideals without caring at all about their user´s actual concerns. They don´t really want to listen them, just to convince them to vote for them. Although it shouldn’t be like that (if you want to persuade your target you should really know their needs) it is kind of understandable because that´s actually the goal of the website. But what seems interesting to me is how newspapers covers elections campaigns. They usually cover only the main parties and main political views but that doesn´t represents all the perspectives or all points of view. They are not taking care of all their user´s needs. In the American political system this could be no so obvious (as it is a two party system) but in European elections there are more small parties in the game. With the current crisis and dissatisfaction people is tired of their main parties and they are looking for other alternatives. Should newspapers cover more information about minority parties? Or it is a too narrow target?
I am going to bring an example of the Spanish presidential campaign that it is due in 7 days. I will bring you some background to understand this analysis. Spain is one of the European countries that it is suffering the most with the financial crisis, besides Greece. There is 22.6% unemployment rate and around 42% of youth unemployment (I really recommend to read this article from The economist to understand young hopeless situation in Spain). These factors were the origin for the Spanish uprising last May. There is a nice article written by ex-MCDM Xurxo Martínez about these events too. Now, we have elections and two weeks but Spanish society doesn´t feel represented by any of the two main parties.
Every morning, when I am reading my daily newspaper feed, I go to “El País” Newspaper Website, right now with a special section for the presidential campaign. Just to frame it, this newspaper is closer to the left-side party (although with the current crisis it is not supporting them too much these days). Their readers are not happy with the current president, but they don´t feel any connection with the right –side party either.
If we look at the menu sections, one of the most interesting things that drew my attention was how clearly is infer that the current party is going to lose and the opposition going to win.
As a disappointed Spaniard with the current political landscape I am looking for other parties activities, other initiatives and so on (with 22% of unemployment I can tell that I am the only one). But I went through the news and there is not any more information/news beyond these two parties. I am looking at the menu categories but there are only sections of the main leaders of these two parties.
Finally I found one category that it is called “more parties”. I click there and finally there are all the other political parties section.
I click in UPyD and happily I found more information. However, it doesn´t look too much coverage or very current news. The first three news are from November but the four result is from September and the six one from August.
I want to know what is happening now, not two months ago!
In the side of all the Election´s page there is a special section for more everyday news about the elections, as experts, famous or normal people´s opinions. I found one day a picture of more manifestations in Madrid… however, this is not enough to satisfy my need of looking for more political alternatives.
As a newspaper, they should inform and try to think what their customers want to read. Obviously, I want to know about the main two parties, but in the current situation, there is a big percentage of their readers that wants to know about other groups as well. Just a proof of that were the last autonomic´s elections, where the white vote (vote without any political party as a sign of unconformity) was the fourth “party” more voted in Spain.
Spanish people don´t agree with the actual system and the newspaper should take those considerations to bring them the information. They could not only win more readers doing that but also create more engagement and loyalty with their existing customers.