Inter-organizational digital divide: Civic groups' media strategies in the Trinity River Corridor Project Page: 9
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Vote No! Save the Trinity's Web site was designed and built by Randall White, president of
Elettore, a local public relations and communications firm. VNST's home page linked to pages
that directed people how to sign up, volunteer, obtain yard signs, and find information on the
times and locations of the vote itself. In addition, there was a hyperlink to Save the Trinity's
Web site . Carol Reed claimed that "VNST had very few volunteers except those who were
texting and doing the new media." Before the November 2007 vote on the proposition, six blogs
mentioned Vote No! Save the Trinity or hyperlinked to the group's Web site (which was
discontinued soon after the vote).
4.3. Organizational support networks
The organizational leadership of TrinityVote and VNST was not particularly well-versed in new
media, and no one from either group claimed that new media was centrally important to their
campaign. However, a large number of civic and business groups were allied with each
campaign, and these groups made more extensive use of new media.
The groups supporting TrinityVote included the Dallas Sierra Club (DSC,
http://texas.sierraclub.org/dallas/) and Texas Campaign for the Environment (TCE). The DSC
focused on the proposed toll road's negative environmental impact, and posted information about
Proposition One on its home page. On the site, the DSC provided information about where and
when voting would take place, and urged the group's volunteers to encourage people to vote:
'It's important that when discussing the ordinance that you urge voters to vote *FOR*
Proposition 1.' In addition to informing the public, the DSC donated US$5,000 to Angela Hunt's
campaign. The anti-toll road Dallas Sierra Club mailed postcards to members about their
position with the message 'Guess where the toll road is now?' Underneath the headline was a
recent picture of a flooded Trinity River corridor (Tomaso, et al., 2007). The Dallas Sierra
Club's Web site posted comments and information about the referendum as well as information
on volunteer opportunities for TrinityVote. A hyperlink to TrinityVote's Web site was posted on
the blog, as was a link to a page that provided details about the vote. Contact information for
Brooks Love (the group's political consultant) was also posted. The Dallas Sierra Club, a group
that made yard signs available for constituents to demonstrate their support, did not have
Facebook or Twitter accounts to update followers about Proposition One. The three main
purposes of TrinityVote's Web site were to provide a description of their position on the vote, a
place to allow people to provide a signature to contribute to placing the referendum on the ballot,
and a click-and-give section. According to Angela Hunt, TrinityVote 'launched a verification of
the signatures on the referendum where a cross reference of voter records was done over the
Internet. About 20,000 signatures were collected over the course of two months' (interview with
second author, 2 February 2010). TrinityVote's Web site did not have hyperlinks to the
television commercials posted on YouTube. Articles from the Dallas Observer were posted for
followers to view.
Texas Campaign for the Environment (TCE, http://www.texasenvironment.org/), a non-profit
organization dedicated to educating the public about state and local environmental issues, also
supported TrinityVote. According to former field manager Branden Helms, while 'Texas
Campaign for the Environment did not sponsor TrinityVote ... it instead piggy-backed with
[TrinityVote's] petition drive' (interview with second author, 26 February 2010). When TCE's
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Ignatow, Gabriel & Schuett, Jessica Lynn. Inter-organizational digital divide: Civic groups' media strategies in the Trinity River Corridor Project, article, November 7, 2011; [Chicago, Illinois]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc78305/m1/9/: accessed March 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Public Affairs and Community Service.