Goodbye DOMA, Hello Marriage Equality: msnbc's Google+ Hangout series on marriage equality

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msnbc

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In anticipation of the Supreme Court’s monumental decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 cases, msnbc hosted a series of Google+ Hangouts On Air surrounding marriage equality from June 17-27, 2013.

Marriage equality is a major rallying point for the msnbc community. We wanted to connect community activists with msnbc talent and LGBT experts to interact and directly engage with our fans on a level we'd never offered before. More than just reporting around this historic news, we provided opportunity for conversation from a variety of angles and perspectives.


In anticipation of the Supreme Court’s monumental decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 cases, msnbc hosted a series of Google+ Hangouts On Air surrounding marriage equality from June 17-27, 2013.

Over the course of 10 days, we produced five Hangouts hosted by msnbc talent, each with a specific focus:

What Does This All Mean? - Thomas Roberts
Changing Your Community - Chris Hayes
Both Sides of the Aisle - Steve Kornacki
From Hollywood to Your Hometown - Andrea Mitchell
Reaction to the Rulings - Melissa Harris-Perry

We booked 32 guests to join us from across the country, from celebrity activists like actor Tate Donovan, composer Andrew Lippa, and “It Gets Better” campaign founder Dan Savage to real-world stakeholders like Matthew Phelps and Ben Schock, the first gay couple to get engaged at the White House, and all four Prop 8 plaintiffs: couples Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, and Sandy Stier and Kris Perry. Our conversations were also shaped by experts like Tom Goldstein, co-founder of SCOTUSblog, and Mary Bonauto, civil rights project director at GLAD, as well as community advocates like Carter Gibson, who manages the PridePlus community on Google+, and Eddie Outlaw, a day spa owner and blogger from Jackson, Miss. And to engage our countless community members who weren’t pictured, we pulled in questions via Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and msnbc.com with the hashtag #MarriageEquality and fed those questions to our hosts live during each Hangout.

By leveraging our high-quality studio production, connection to the progressive community, and television and digital reach, we were able to drive an original, grassroots conversation surrounding the Supreme Court decisions on marriage equality that no other mainstream media captured. This genuine, raw interaction also informed our on-air reporting for a seamless, 360-degree experience across the msnbc brand. Where else could Melissa Harris-Perry jokingly ask Prop 8 plantiffs Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo for an invitation to their wedding, only to be one-upped by Paul and Jeff’s decision to broadcast their wedding live on the Rachel Maddow Show?

In addition to the value our series of Hangouts provided to our community, their performance by the numbers exceeded our expectations:

In the six months since the series (July-December 2013), msnbc’s Google+ page has doubled its followers, now at 1.3 million.
The five Hangouts On Air received nearly 28,000 views on VOD.
The YouTube promotional video teasing the series (below) received 4.9 million views.

Additional Information

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZbL5z1THVU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyYRhCi3huw&feature=share http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6h1qSRIEbh0&feature=share http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQPHDTrkkXg&feature=share http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_SGtvgFNoE

Links

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/google-hangout-series-marriage-equality

Entry Credits

Farra Kober, Director, Social Media and Community, msnbc

Cara Maresca, Cross Media Producers, msnbc

Jesamyn Go, Director, msnbc.com

Richard Wolffe, VP and Executive Editor, msnbc.com

John Asterita, Technical Director

Abby Borovitz, Digital Producer

Collier Meyerson, Digital Producer

Omnika Thompson, Senior Producer

Michelle Perry, Senior Producer

Subrata De, Executive Producer

Sara Kugler, Associate Producer

Jamil Smith, Segment Producer

Anthony Quintano, Community Manager