14 November 2008

US Election Picks

Now that the dust has settled on the US election, here’s a guide to some of the online coverage that caught the eye of commentators, bloggers and journalists.

The Look

If you want to see how the digital media reported the votes as they came in, student Gary Ritzenthaler spent the night taking screen grabs of websites from around the world.

Blogger and academic Mindy McAdams writes that the PhD student from the University of Florida has made these images public on Iterasi, an online bookmarking service for pages as well as links.

And guardian.co.uk has a collection of images showing how the global online media reported Barack Obama’s victory.


An overview of some of the most popular US election blogs was provided earlier this month by TimesOnline.

Although the article is about websites rather than purely about blogs, most of its 25 picks either are blogs or have their blogging sections recommended.

The effectiveness of the pro-McCain and pro-Obama bloggers is discussed in this article by Judith Townend on Journalism.co.uk.

Meanwhile, the BBC adopted a three-pronged blogging strategy with Gavin Hewitt providing updates from the Obama camp in Chicago and Matt Price blogging from the McCain campaign headquarters in Arizona.

North America editor Justin Webb completed the triumvirate by offering an overview of the results via his regular blog.


The effectiveness and accuracy of some of the media’s fancy maps have been discussed on The Information Aesthetics blog, and the Australian resource also has lots of links to some of the most innovative ones.

And alternatives to the usual raft of red/blue maps dotting the online media landscape have been offered up by Mark Newman at the University of Michigan (HT - Martin Stabe.)

While the Washington Post combined mapping with its Twitter, blog and video reports through the multimedia fest called TimeSpace: Election.

Users could view news from chosen locations and use the timeline to filter reports by date.

On the video and slideshows front, plenty of journalists in the US hit the campaign trail and polling booths to produce some great little packages.

In her round-up for Poynter Online, Regina McCombs points to an audio-visual piece from the Nashua Telegraph where voters were asked to sum up why they voted in one word.

McCombs also flags up a multimedia feature from the Star Tribune asking local politicians and activists what the Obama victory means to them.

While the New York Times contributed with its documentary – Choosing the President – which combines audio, video and some very flashy graphics to produce an effective overview of the election from party nominations through to November 5th.

And in the UK, election news videos produced by satirical outfit The Onion News Network were featured on Telegraph.co.uk after the newspaper struck a deal with myvideorights.com.

Social Media

How Obama harnessed the power of social networking websites like Facebook is discussed in this New York Times article (HT – Nigel Barlow).

And among the news outlets taking advantage of image-sharing websites was Sky News, which posted photos of its election coverage activities to its Flickr stream (HT Journalism.co.uk).

User-Generated Content

On a grand scale there was the YouTube-PBS partnership project – Video Your Vote, which encouraged the public to record their voting experiences.

While among the small but innovative UGC projects was the Word Train feature from the New York Times which asked users to submit one word to describe their current state of mind on election day.

The most common words were then displayed across the webpage and visitors could also choose to view words from a particular time period or from Obama or McCain supporters only.

Further Reading

There are lots of other round-up posts around the blogosphere, such as one on the Online Journalism Blog from Paul Bradshaw and this from Laura Oliver on Journalism.co.uk.

[Pictures from top - Jonathon Colman on Flickr and Shasti O'Leary on Flickr.]

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