NBC News has transformed Rockefeller Plaza into Democracy Plaza in preparation for Election 2012 today. Not only has the famed Rockefeller Plaza ice rink been turned into a makeshift map where the network can track the states as they are called for whichever candidate, but there are also interactive exhibits throughout the area open to the public.
Replicas of the Oval Office and the White House press briefing room are on display and there’s a video booth for NBC News where visitors can take pictures or videos and then share them via social media. Democracy Plaza is powered by Windows 8 and Microsoft is the sole financial sponsor of the Plaza, providing Surface Tablets for visitors to use to track election news.
While visiting Democracy Plaza on Monday evening, around 50 people lined up right inside the Rockefeller Plaza Concourse, waiting to get pictures taken “at the White House.” More crowds gathered outside, taking pictures of the map on the ice and the plaza, already lit up red and blue in preparation for November 6.
Inside the Rock Center Café, press and NBC News talent including Savannah Guthrie, Chuck Todd, Maria Bartiromo, Lester Holt, and more gathered on Monday evening to discuss the election and plans for Election Day.
NBC News will broadcast from the Plaza all day today, using various desks and broadcast booths that were ready—and even already in use by primetime newscaster Brian Williams Monday night. The Today show is also using the Plaza this morning.
In addition to a sponsorship from tech company Microsoft, Democracy Plaza also encourages social interaction from viewers and visitors. Social media has already played a major role in this year’s election, and NBC is taking full advantage with its coverage. There are several Twitter accounts to follow, including @NBCPolitics, @NBCNews, and @DemocracyPlaza, which will post updates from visitors to the exhibit, as well as the hashtag #NBCPolitics.
Several members of NBC News’ digital team also highlighted the way Instagram will play a role in the election, providing a way for consumers to get more involved in coverage. The network launched Electiongrams, a website collecting political and election-related photos from Instagram, showcasing them in a map format.
Additionally, social media mentions of NBC and the elections will be broadcast on-air, and curated through a second screen experience on social TV app zeebox, and there will be a live-stream of election night coverage on Facebook.
“Democracy, is all about the people,” said NBC News correspondent Carl Quintanilla, as he gestured to the crowds outside on Monday evening. “The closer we can get to the viewers, the better.”