10 March 2008

Question Time For Tribune Users

Users are putting their political questions directly to journalists covering the US primaries thanks to an innovative video project.

The Chicago Tribune’s Video Chats feature is devoting its time to the presidential nomination polls and provides the public with a chance to put their posers to the professionals.

Last week’s latest half-hour telecast featured reporter Mike Dorning answering readers’ queries about the March 4 primaries in Ohio and Texas.

The so-called Interactive Chats have up to 500 participants submitting their questions, which are typed up by a producer so they appear on the screen during the live show.

“We wanted to have a little more interactivity with our audience,” said the Tribune’s interactive executive producer, Clark Bender.

He told Newspapers & Technology: “You can do regular chat, but it was good to try video chat because we liked the connection that it had with the audience.”

Bender added: “I don’t think we’ve ever had any delusions that we’re going to have thousands and thousands of people watching these chats.

“Maybe someday we can grow into that. Right now it’s something of a toe in the water as we figure out what we are going to do.”

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