Gubernatorial Campaign of Barry Simpson
This is a series of documents written in AP format written throughout my Writing for Media course to support a fictitious candidate's campaign.
Memo about Media Types
TO: Barry Simpson, Gubernatorial Candidate
FROM: Lauren Bigelow, Media Writer
DATE: January 8th, 2018
SUBJECT: Political Promotion
As an Independent candidate, you have the potential to appeal to a variety of people from both Republican and Democratic parties. I would like to help you reach as many voters as possible and convince them of your competence and excellent policy plans in the process. At this time, there are plenty of methods I would recommend to promote your strengths as a potential governor, including earned, paid, owned, and personal media.
In order to earn a news story or social media post, you will need to impress journalists and citizens through an impressive interview, speech, or debate. They will then decide to write about you not because you hired them, but because your statements were compelling enough to share without an external incentive. Although not a direct cost, hiring a public relations team will encourage you to gain support in this way. They may help you better relate to your constituents and decide what to discuss publicly.
Conducting yourself well is important, but it will not gather enough support alone. Your competitors likely purchase advertisements across print and digital platforms, from billboards to television commercials to online banner ads. Facebook is a popular option for advertising on the web; its ads target people within certain demographics or belief systems. You might develop an ad based on increasing funding for education, for instance, and decide to reach parents with school-age children who have an interest in raising more government funding for public schools. These techniques help your constituents become more familiar with you, and may encourage them to do more research into who you are and how you plan to govern them.
Owned media refers to the content you share and control on your political website and social media pages. You must hire a competent team of graphic designers, writers, and editors to give your website a professional appearance and communicate your values. Create political Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram accounts to keep your voters up-to-date with content that is pre-approved by social media managers. This would ensure you have proper spelling, grammar, and do not say something unwise. I recommend uploading your announcement to run along with your television advertisements to a YouTube channel.
To combine paid and owned media, you can also make your posts on social media sites more visible to those who don’t already follow you by sponsoring them. Sponsored posts are not as targeted, but they could reach people who are undecided or willing to change their minds about your plans.
All of these posts should not feature content from your everyday life; your owned media as a governor should be kept separate from your personal media. Voters can better relate to you through personal media accounts. On these channels you can share fun posts about your friends, family, and leisure activities. It could be useful to hire someone to manage these posts as well.
If you do not want them to be as visible to everyone, it may be helpful to keep stricter privacy settings on your personal media. For example, Facebook gives you the option to share posts only within certain groups (friends, friends of friends, or a custom list of people), while Twitter and Instagram allow you to switch your entire account to private. This way, when users try to follow you, you can accept or decline their request. If you decline, they will not see any of your posts.
I plan to measure your success by assessing your number of votes along with overall voter turnout. Public polling should show a rise in your favorability. I would track the amount you’ve made from fundraising each day, as well as how many donors (and repeat donors) you have. Your website visitors and engagements (likes, responses, or shares) on your social media posts/ads should also increase over time.
I wish you success in your run for governor. Hopefully, by investing in campaign management and a range of media, you can inspire more voters than you had ever thought possible.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lauren Bigelow
Cell Phone: 586-746-****
LEARNING TO GOVERN: CANDIDATE SIMPSON’S PLAN FOR SCHOOLS
Feb. 8, 2019 (CHICAGO)—Yesterday, gubernatorial candidate Barry Simpson visited the Frederick Douglass Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois. The Rockford native has seen how much his state’s public schools are lacking—especially in their extracurriculars—and wanted to speak to their staff and students directly to learn more about their struggles. At 10 a.m., they gathered for an assembly in the school’s gymnasium where Simpson and his wife, Brook, each spoke and responded to questions. Mr. Simpson promised everyone that, if elected, he would improve their teaching and learning environment so that the next generation of students, workers, and leaders could thrive.
Most Illinois schools do not have enough funding to fix issues such as poor ventilation and leaking roofs. They struggle to purchase adequate educational materials including textbooks and digital learning devices. Their teachers are not paid enough to remain passionate about their careers. These common complaints were made clear to Simpson when he spoke to the staff at Frederick Douglass. “I would buy my students better school supplies if I could,” said Sharon, a math teacher, after Simpson finished his speech. “I live paycheck-to-paycheck, though, and have trouble making ends meet for my own family.”
As Illinois’ low standardized test scores and high dropout rate show, these teachers do not often succeed at their jobs. However, Simpson believes that many could do well if given proper resources. Simpson explained to the hopeful crowd that he plans to increase public school funding for building repairs, engaging learning materials, and higher salaries. He would like to raise standards for teaching qualifications to ensure children learn from the very best.
Simpson’s wife explained that she is the owner of an art gallery and a retired art teacher. She has seen how art has provided meaningful jobs and enjoyable hobbies to many people. However, since extracurricular activities such as art and music have been reduced or even eliminated entirely, there is little opportunity for students to express themselves creatively. Brook knows several art teachers who have experienced pay cuts or have even been laid off.
“As a child, I was inspired by my art teachers to never stop using my imagination,” she said. “They made my time at school worthwhile; I don’t know what I would have done without them. I’m so disappointed that many children in Illinois haven’t been given that experience.”
Brook understands that creating a strong foundation of artistic skills early in life can change the course of a child’s career, and has urged her husband to improve this aspect of the education system. The couple has witnessed a decline in the arts through their own family as well; their youngest child, Drew, attends elementary school. Their daughter, Dakota, is a high school student.
“Drew has no music class, and his art class is taught by his homeroom teacher, rather than by someone with a specialized education,” Mr. Simpson remarked. “Dakota wants to study art in college, but her school is unable to afford supplies such as oil paints, canvases, and pottery wheels. Her class selection in the department has been reduced by nearly half over the past few years. Many students see the artist’s studio or musician’s instrument as an escape from the monotony of regular schoolwork, or even as a way to start earning a living. Extracurriculars may seem unnecessary, but they are crucial to a well-rounded learning experience. Because they encourage originality and ‘thinking outside of the box,’ they might even encourage innovation in other fields.”
With the encouragement of his wife, Simpson promised to bring more art programs into every school and every grade. Under his governorship, only qualified, specialized teachers would be hired to teach creative subjects. They would be given adequate materials to encourage artistic expression in many forms.
Many Chicagoans worry that their taxes will be raised to pay for spending on schools. However, Simpson explained he does not want to raise the tax rate; he would actually decrease it for everyone, but spend government revenue wisely. It was recently discovered that elected officials of the state have taken large portions of the money for themselves and the companies they support. Even when revenue was used for governmental programs, it often did not directly help citizens. For instance, hundreds of thousands were spent on promotional materials, such as sponsored maps and advertisements for parks and museums. Simpson strives to protect against corruption and re-prioritize his state’s spending. He has been looking forward to a more efficient government that produces successful graduates.
Within the next several weeks, Barry and Brooke Simpson will visit other schools across the state to share their plans for improvement. They have and will continue to personally connect with voters.
For more information about this topic, please call Lauren Bigelow at 586-746-**** or email her at email@example.com.
Good evening. As a lifelong resident of Illinois, I would be happy to see the small businesses succeed; they are what keep our local economies thriving. By offering a diverse range of products and experiences, they encourage progress and innovation. Small businesses also employ those who may not find work at large corporations, allowing many people to support themselves and their loved ones.
However, as a husband of a gallery owner, I know the obstacles people like my wife face. I am displeased to share that most small business owners deal with similar challenges. According to a recent survey, the vast majority are dissatisfied with their state’s business friendliness (Thumbtack, 2018). Among their main concerns are a lack of training programs, high taxes, strict regulations, and poorly-designed government websites. Their responses have been ranked the worst out of any state; this is worse than past years (Thumbtack, 2018). It is something I wish to change if I am elected next month.
As your governor, I would first make sure businesses are operated by knowledgeable owners who are able to hire skilled workers. I would mandate one or more business-related courses in public primary and secondary schools to give students a strong foundation of relevant knowledge early in life. This change in the curriculum requires us to hire more teachers who are experts in business and know how to instill a love of entrepreneurship in the next generation.
My state’s government should provide grants and loans for students studying related fields at colleges, universities, and trade schools. I also strive to provide small businesses with free training programs so their employees can learn specialized skills without extra costs to owners.
Small business owners already face numerous economic challenges. For instance, they pay income, sales, property, excise, and employment taxes (The Balances, n.d.). These different types are not only complicated to file; they are so expensive that they make people less willing to start up or continue local businesses. I propose a different tax plan in which every other business-related tax—aside from that taken from income—is combined into a single type of tax. Both types of taxes should be reduced by at least twenty-five percent. The lowest-earning companies and those just starting out will find the most relief.
In addition to following regulations from our country’s agencies, such as the FTC and FDA (Epiq, 2018), Illinois has other restrictive guidelines. One example is the Use of Illinois Resident Labor Act, which requires half of hours worked to be from those who live in the state (Illinois.gov, 2018). This has prevented business owners from hiring qualified people who happen to live out of the state. It has burdened employers who plan their employees’ schedules. They are forced to overlook the best talent and spend valuable time on something that will not contribute to their success in business.
Some worry that eliminating this act would prevent residents of the state from finding work. However, I believe it would attract the most capable people to our state—perhaps permanently as they realize what a great place Illinois is to live. I hope they are encouraged to spend money on goods and services while they are here. This, in turn, would spur economic growth.
I will also modify the regulations in place for registering a business. It is currently a long process, taking about two weeks, and requires multiple forms and fees (Harbor Compliance). I will simplify the process by combining the all forms into one that is easy to understand, as well as combine all fees into a single payment. This should provide business owners a straightforward method of starting their companies.
Those trying to register and manage their businesses often complain that the state government’s website is difficult to navigate. I therefore plan to hire the most talented web designers and User Experience specialists to make sure Illinois business owners can find all they need to follow important regulations. I will make sure all of our information is easy to read and updated regularly.
With the help of the government, Illinois’ small businesses can and will do better. The state is filled with many dedicated workers with the drive to succeed. I look forward to helping them achieve their dreams and benefit their communities.
Thank you; I will now take your questions.
THANK CANDIDATE SIMPSON AT THE HEAD TABLE FOR HOSTING THIS AFTERNOON’S LUNCHEON.
N.a. (2018). Illinois Small Business Friendliness. Retrieved from https://www.thumbtack.com/il/#/2018/1
Murray, J. (02 September 2018). All the Taxes Your Business Must Pay. Retrieved from The Balances website:
N.a. (2018). Government Regulation of Businesses. Retrieved from https://www.epiqglobal.com/en-us/thinking/class-action-mass-tort/faq/government-regulation-business-faq.
N.a. (2019). Use of Illinois Resident Labor Act. Retrieved from https://www2.illinois.gov/idol/Laws-Rules/CONMED/Pages/State-Construction-Use-of-Illinois-Resident-Labor.aspx.
N.a. (2019). Start a Business in Illinois. Retrieved from https://www.harborcompliance.com/information/start-a-business-in-illinois.
Press Conference Announcement
CANDIDATE SIMPSON ANSWERS QUESTIONS ABOUT RECENT SUPPORTER
This Friday, gubernatorial candidate Barry Simpson will take questions from the media during a press conference organized by his public relations team and hosted by the Quarry Event Center. Those who attend can learn more about the support he was recently shown by his previous opponent, Mary Gibson.
Candidate Gibson had competed against Simpson in their race for governorship. She dropped out two weeks ago, which many had predicted due to her falling poll numbers and decreased donations. Since she is a partisan Republican, few would have expected her support for Simpson.
Last Monday, the two stood on stage during Simpson’s speech about business reform at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Chicago. After the candidate concluded his statements and answered questions from the crowd, he stepped aside and Gibson took his place at the podium. She then congratulated Simpson not just for his well-executed speech, but also for his willingness to bring people of all political views together. Gibson explained that she had blindly followed her party’s principles and unfairly criticized Democrats, but that Simpson had inspired her to become an Independent. She expressed her willingness to vote for Simpson and encouraged others to as well.
At the press conference, reporters can ask polite, well-prepared questions of Simpson either in person or through a phone bridge. They are encouraged to learn about the details of his experience speaking with Gibson, along with what he and others can to bridge the partisan divide. For those who want a combination of video and audio, a satellite feed will be shared across Illinois.
When: 6:00 p.m. CST, Friday, Feb. 29
Where: Quarry Event Center, Level 1, Ballroom A; Parking Structure B
More: The head of Simpson’s Public Relations team is available by phone at 586-746-**** and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Memo about Twitter Posts
TO: Dr. Renea Nichols
FROM: Lauren Bigelow
DATE: April 9th, 2018
SUBJECT: Twitter Posts
Here are five tweets to be distributed from Candidate Barry Simpson’s Twitter account.
Throughout my campaign, I have been inspired by Illinois citizens. It is time to make an even greater impact on them through today’s rally.
The #SimpsonRally is unique; two previous mayors—a Democrat and a Republican—are joining me to show that different people can work together.
My co-speakers and I discussed my campaign's education and tax reform. The audience seems to approve!
I am grateful for the crowd's enthusiasm at this #SimpsonRally. It is great that so many are excited to engage in the political process.
The rally was a success! I spoke with many people who share our goals and are excited to cast their votes.