New CNN Politics App is Latest 2016 Game Changer

29 Apr 2016 - By TW Staff

On Thursday, CNN took its Campaign 2016 coverage to the next level.

Launching a new data-centric app for iOS users in partnership with CA Technologies, CNN Politics now delivers a unique mobile experience tracking the data behind every twist and turn of America's Choice 2016. This follows the launch earlier this month of CNN for Messenger, which allows Facebook Messenger app users to chat directly with CNN and receive the latest breaking campaign news and information. 

We talked to CNN's Alex Wellen (SVP and Chief Product Officer) and Katrina Cukaj (EVP, Portfolio Sales & Content Partnerships, Turner Ad Sales) to get the full download on their latest innovation.

CNN has described Campaign 2016 as “the data election.” How will the CNN Politics app help voters better understand election data when there is more information available than ever before?

Alex Wellen: We are awash in election data, but it's meaningless without CNN’s editorial insights.  Every day our political team will extract the key “data points” that tell the big story or key stories in the presidential race. The trick is then distilling those data points down to storytelling at-a-glance that’s made for mobile, and that enables our users to personalize the data that’s most relevant to them. This is the journey we are embarking on with the CNN Politics app. Powering up the app becomes your Pavlovian response to the questions — who’s winning the presidential race right now and why.

Not everyone following Campaign 2016 is a data whiz; how did you make the app user-friendly for the average voter while also delivering content in a sophisticated, data-driven way?

Wellen: The CNN Politics app tracks the data defining the big moments in the race for the White House.  The app brings together mobile, data, and editorial election insights in a powerful and elegant card-based system that translates across multiple platforms, and paves the way for a future suite of data-driven CNN products.  Think of every full screen interactive graphic in the app like a playing card.  Our deck of cards has custom templates for polls, fundraising, the big number, the big story, and so on.  It creates a simple, familiar, and custom experience that we intend to expand to other mobile experiences.

What level of personalization can users expect?

Wellen: CNN Politics has a story to tell and this new app enables us to tell the very personal story of the election through data. Our goal in future iterations of the app is to enable our audience to use CNN storytelling as a springboard for deeper discovery.  From state polling to local fundraising to key demographic breakdowns, users can explore the issues that matter the most to them, right from the palm of their hand.

What have been CNN’s greatest successes in data and innovation? How does the CNN Politics app take that success to the next level?  

Wellen: For the consumer, more and more of our storytelling is built on data-driven journalism. Take our most recent investigation into U.S. gun violence where we illustrate the story through custom charts and graphs.  In previous elections, CNN’s delegate counters, electoral maps, exit polls, national polling, and general election results have been best-in-breed and have defined our digital success. With the CNN Politics app, we are now creating interactive and personal experiences that are built for a mobile generation. 

This is part of a broader partnership with CA Technologies. How is this partnership unique? How has it improved CNN’s campaign coverage?

Katrina Cukaj: This is truly a unique partnership for our team, as we co-developed a campaign with CA Technologies that showcases their software capabilities and brand objective to empower consumers in the app economy. The CNN Politics app became the medium to deliver their message. Powered by CA’s software, the app enables our users to digest the meaning behind the numbers and understand the presidential race as it unfolds in compelling and personal ways.