Inter-organizational digital divide: Civic groups' media strategies in the Trinity River Corridor Project

Though the Trinity Common Foundation had a Web site, the TCF's Craig Holcomb explained
that apart from the site, 'The Trinity Commons Foundation does not engage in new media tactics
because they are targeting an older demographic who sits at their desk and checks the Web site
just not anything else. There were salesmen who have tried to sell social networking programs,'
but the TCF passed on the opportunity (interview with second author, 15 February 2010).
Craig Holcomb, executive director of the Trinity Commons Foundation, created another civic
group to oppose Proposition One: Save the Trinity. Save the Trinity hired several firms over the
course of the campaign, including a Webmaster who designed and maintained the organization's
Web site. The Eppstein Group (http://www.eppsteingroup.com/) provided poll workers and
consulting services for the anti-petition effort. These poll workers wore specially designed anti-
Proposition One T-shirts. In addition, the public relations firm Rita Cox & Company was hired
to provide communications and media assistance. In total, Save the Trinity collected over
US$140,000 in political contributions, including approximately US$41,000 from the Dallas
Citizens Council. One of the most notorious tactics reportedly used by supporters of the toll road
was petition blocking. Save the Trinity, the organization created by Craig Holcomb for the
express purpose of opposing Proposition One, hired petition blockers who stood outside polling
places where Angela Hunt's organization was collecting signatures to persuade people not to
sign (Tomaso and Blythe, 2007). Joshua Blankenship was hired to design and build Save the
Trinity's Web site, whose main slogan was 'Sink the Petition, Save the Trinity.' This Web site
included links to the Balanced vision plan Web site, to information about the Trinity Parkway,
and to directions for supporting Save the Trinity.
Table 1: Finances, media tactics, and Web site
hyperlinks of the main anti- and pro-toll road civic
groups.
Vote No! Save
TrinityVote
the Trinity
Main anti-toll road Main pro-toll
Description
group road group
$US raised $103,651 $472,074
$ spent $64,840 $150,000
Outstanding
$96,600 0
I Sought coverage from
the Dallas Observer,
Old media local TV commercials, signs, radio and
television ads,
radio talk shows, phone direct mail
banks, some yard signs
Petition signature
No media
collection

Ignatow, Gabriel & Schuett, Jessica Lynn. Inter-organizational digital divide: Civic groups' media strategies in the Trinity River Corridor Project. [Chicago, Illinois]. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc78305/. Accessed August 29, 2014.