US election coverage – who’s making the most of the web?

Elections bring out the best in online journalism. News organisations have plenty of time to plan, there’s a global audience up for grabs, and the material lends itself to interactive treatment (voter opinions; candidates’ stances on various issues; statistics and databases; constant updates; personalisation).

Not only that, but the electorate is using the internet for election news more than any other medium apart from television (and here are some reasons why).

PaidContent has a good roundup of various UK editors’ views, and decides blogs, Twitter and data are the themes (more specifically, liveblogging and mapping).

Choice picks include the Telegraph teaming up with the New York Times and; the Independent teaming up with LiveJournal.; and MSN teaming up with Populus for a “wisdom-of-crowds” predictor. Sky’s interactive map is quite fun too.

Innovation in Newspapers has been running an ‘Election Journalism Caviar’ series, mainly focusing on the journalism itself, but interactive highlights include the New York Times’ Electopedia of candidates’ views and PolitiFact’s ‘Attack File’ scoring the attacks made on candidates.

Chrys Wu has an overview of where to follow the results live online:

“Editors at Yahoo News will be culling election-related photos from [Flickr] and posting them on and Put the word “election” somewhere in the title, comment or tag to be part of the search.

“If you’re going to be out and about, bookmark the Online NewsHour’s mobile site. In addition to updates on the election, there’s a handy list of poll closing times and electoral votes.”

And Reuters has a piece on the use of user generated content:

“The New York Times is asking its Web site visitors to take pictures of their polling places and upload them … Nonprofit group Video the Vote plans to post up to 1,000 video reports, focusing on any problems at the polls … [and] Current TV … through a partnership with social networking sites Digg and Twitter will rely on Internet users to provide its news content. The channel’s TV screen will be a crowded and sometimes disconnected “dashboard” of text and video created or chosen by Internet users.”

Distributed journalism, personalisation, and maps, in fact, is “throwing a social media election party” across a number of platforms – the best example of distributed journalism I’ve so far seen – and also the most fun-sounding.

MSNBC’s results widget is another, more obvious, example.

Yahoo has its own flashy election page, with some interesting indicators, including ‘most blogged about’, and how many people are searching for each candidate. If you’ve read Click, you’ll know how important search patterns are. You can also ‘Create your own scenario’ – personalising the map which you can then email, compare or link to from your blog. (hat tip to Matthew Solle)

CNN also does personalisation with CNN YourRaces: a customisable tracking tool that allows you to follow selected races in real time. The service is also available via CNN’s mobile interface.

And I’ve already written about Google’s creep into content creation with its InQuotes project comparing candidates’ quotes on selected issues.

YouTube is doing Video Your Vote, with a map for navigation and colour coding including ‘Voter intimidation’ and ‘Registration problems’.

And two university students started Map the Candidates, which uses a Google Map to present information about candidates’ visits around the US, and is now hosted at Slate.

Map junkies can get more at (h/t Matthew Solle again) and data junkies can get a stronger fix at Perspctv (thanks EricScherer and Joeri Rodenburg).

Text junkies can get SMS updates from the BBC and the New York Times.

Twitter followers Matthew Bennett, John383 and 10000words also mentioned the Huffington Post,, and The New York Times’ ‘Choosing a President’ video.

I’ve said elsewhere that 2004 was the blogged election, 2006 the YouTube election, and this year’s Super Tuesday was the mashup election, so what does that make the 2008 election?

The Twitter Election, if replies on Twitter are anything to go by. Building on its success during Super Tuesday, it has a dedicated Election 2008 site (if only it did the same for similar events outside the US), and has partnered with the likes of and techPresident for their coverage, while dozens of organisations are using Twitter for their updates, including the Washington Post and TwitterVoteReport. Also watch out for lost of organisations using liveblogging tool CoverItLive, and a few, including St. Louis Post-Dispatch, using live mobile video streaming tools Qik and Bambuser.

Those are just some of the highlights I can find – I’m sure you have more (particularly from non-English language sources). What’s impressed you in the online coverage? What’s disappointed? 

UPDATE: Gabriela Zago adds: g1 (news portal from Globo) has several interesting infographs explaining the US elections, but they don’t seem to have done one especially for today. O Globo (from the same news organization) has 3 maps (they’re in the bottom of the screen). One of them has quotes from Brazilian people living in the US on what they think about the elections.

10 thoughts on “US election coverage – who’s making the most of the web?

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