Video news startup NowThis is partnering with FWD.us, the immigration lobbying group backed by Mark Zuckerberg and other tech executives, to tackle one of the biggest issues in this year’s election cycle.
Last night at South by Southwest, the two organizations announced a partnership where NowThis is creating a video series focused on immigration. NowThis President Athan Stephanopoulos told me they’re planning to publish eight videos total, to be released every one or two weeks between now and June.
The series will be promoted across NowThis’ various social channels (it doesn’t publish any content to the NowThis website itself), but Stephanopoulos said Facebook will be the series’ “primary distribution platform.”
While FWD.us had a bit of a rocky start after being announced in 2013, it hasn’t gone away. And its big issue of immigration reform has certainly been in the headlines recently, albeit mostly in ugly and xenophobic ways.
“The reality that many people let slip away is that we are a nation of immigrants – yet our immigration system is broken and outdated,” said FWD.us President Todd Schulte in a statement. “Telling stories that show exactly why we need to fix our immigration system is critical in our fight for reform. Sharing these stories will build urgency around this issue: we must challenge the absurd proposals of mass deportation this election cycle and we cannot and should not tear families apart.”
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NowThis hasn’t been ignoring immigration before now, particularly when it comes to Republican candidates’ comments about the topic, but the company will be giving the issue an extended focus with the new series. Stephanopoulos said FWD.us is “working closely with our producers on the concepts and scripting of the series” and also providing data and insights. As you can see in the first episode above, the combination resulted in at least one video that has a strong point of view on refuting “immigration myths.” (That episode, by the way, was published yesterday and already has more than 3 million views.)
However, Stephanopoulos emphasized that NowThis is creating this as “an editorial series in partnership with FWD on immigration,” not as an ad for the lobbying group.
“This has been an issue that resonates with our audience and is a key topic of the election, of which we are covering in a unique way,” he said. “We are doing deep dives into the issues of the election and this is the one we are doing in immigration.”