Politico in Print

Screen shot of March 4 edition of Politico E-Newspaper.

Politico first launched as a newspaper in 2007, and according to a  2009 Vanity Fair feature, the publication has expanded to a circulation of approximately 32,000. PW focuses on how the website and multimedia help to promote its print branch.

A Subscriptions page provides details on where the newspaper is available in the Washington, D.C. area. An interactive Google map shows the exact locations of the boxes where the paper can be picked up, accompanied by a list of streets. If you’d prefer delivery, you can pay $200/year or $350/2 years for domestic subscribers. If you have $600 dollars and live outside the US, you can even have Politico in print on your doorstep.

But the real winner for people that want to read the newspaper, but don’t live in the D.C. area, is an electronic edition, “a digital copy of the print edition with enhanced features including download and email capabilities.” A link at the bottom of the homepage brings up a subscription page to register. But to bypass registration, an image of the latest issue on the lefthand side launches the electric edition, with the following features:

  • The entire 24-page issue, complete with articles and ads and zoom capabilities. The content can also be viewed fullscreen.
  • Page navigation with first, last, next, and previous. Hitting “next” or “previous” creates a sound effect of a newspaper page turning. Nice touch.
  • An extensive menu allows for various reading modes, such as slideshow and single-page; social bookmarking including Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and others; print or download as a pdf file; bookmarking and emailing.
  • A key part of the menu as well is MyDigitalNewspaper, a website catalouging various electronic newspaper editions in the English-speaking world, including the Politico e-edition.

It’s curious why Politico would bury the link to this edition so far on their page. But the newspaper, whether in print or online, provides a clean and less jumbled layout of Politico’s content and is an excellent alternative to the main homepage.


Page Watch: 44

President Barack Obama, seen here speaking at Pennsylvania State University earlier this month, is under Politico's microscope constantly. | Photo courtesy Flickr user pennstatelive

Before the next installment of the Page Watch series on Politico Watch, I want to direct your attention to the Flickr widget on the right-hand column underneath the blogroll. The pictures are the same as the slideshow in the previous post, but it is yet another way multimedia can be used to tell a story or cover a beat.

Speaking of which, there are few assignments coveted more than White House Correspondent. Covering the Commander-in-Chief and following the leader of the free world is a heavy responsibility for any news outlet, and Politico is equipped with an additionally burden of incorporating multimedia into their reporting on the president. Therefore, in the second issue of Page Watch, PW sets its sights on “44,” described by Politico as “A Living Diary of the Obama Presidency.” More than halfway through the forty-fourth presidency (hence the name of the page), let’s examine how Politico measures up to the challenge, as the site name states, “minute by minute”:

  • The lead to the site is a live blog called “The Whiteboard,” which has daily updates on Obama’s official statements and activities. A link to “all of today’s posts” sends the viewer to an archives page.
  • Along the righthand side of the page, a large blue button serves as a link to “Obama in Video.” The page has clips from White House press secretary Jay Carney as well as original Politico pieces on the president.
  • An official calender of the president’s events is also listed on the right column, both by day and by month. A box for anonymous tips for story ideas is provided as well.

    Screenshot of "44", February 27

  • The articles are listed in pairs, unlike the jumbled home page, and are affixed with a blue headline box and images. Videos such as Obama’s weekly address and text alongside press briefings are included in the body of the page.
  • Finally, a rich archives section can be found on the bottom of the page, divided into topics of interest to White House followers. These include people (“FLOTUS” or First Lady, First Family, “Veep” Joe Biden, White House Staff, Republicans) and subjects (media, policy, Cabinet, Supreme Court).

The words and actions from White House’s hallowed chambers are difficult to capture and disseminate, but Politico does an admirable job in reporting President Obama’s through a multitude of multimedia in a clean layout.


Photo Gallery

Outside of Politico coverage and as part of my multimedia journalism course, here is a slideshow I made on President’s Day in Brookline, MA. I guess it is a little political in that way. Enjoy!


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Madison Mayhem Coverage

The United States has been captivated by coverage of massive demonstrations across the world. The nation anxiously watches drama developing as one faction fights against the incumbent government, while passionate political protesters march alongside. Washington is unsure how to respond as neither camp is ready to budge until their side has won.

But what if this scene is not Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, or Pearl Square in Manama, Bahrain – but the Capitol rotunda in Madison, Wisconsin? To summarize, the showdown pits Tea Party-backed governor Scott Walker versus disgruntled labor supporters as Walker seeks to cut collective bargaining rights for most public employees. Politico is covering the situation using a variety of multimedia:

  • Screenshot from Madison photo slideshow

    The lead on the homepage features a large image of protesters outside the Madison capitol under the banner headline, “GOP governors strike at heart of Dems.”

  • The subsequent article discusses budget cuts in Washington compared to the situation across the country. Writers Jonathan Martin and Ben Smith hit the nail on the head with their paragraph: “The most consequential political action and the most serious policy debates are not taking place in Washington, which appears unlikely to tackle any big-ticket items, but rather beyond the Beltway, in the state capitols, which Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously labeled the “laboratories of democracy.
  • A photo slideshow provides twelve images from inside and outside the Capitol, giving visitors a great visual sense of what these protests are about. An impressive addition to the coverage.
  • Below the lead, a series of articles cover various perspective on the unfolding events from the Republicans and 2012ers to the Democrats and President Obama.
  • However, an unrelated article interrupts the flow of Madison coverage and would be better suitated elsewhere on the page. The piece is about an adviser for prospective 2012er Chris Christie‘s deliberating the formation of a political action committee. This adds to the jumbled layout issues Politico has been struggling with. Also, there is no specific video coverage which would have added more to the story.

Overall, Politico has aptly handled the Madison crisis as an international outlet would cover the Middle East unrest. One of the most interesting pieces connects the two crises, as congressional reporter Meredith Shiner opens, “Someone in Egypt has been paying attention to what’s happening in Madison and wanted to send a message of solidarity from across the globe — so they ordered a pizza.” This shows that a little levity goes a long way in coverage disputes both home and abroad.

Politico on Egypt

Politico.com screenshot minutes after Hosni Mubarak announces his resignation.

The world has watched with great anticipation over the past few weeks as protesters in Egypt took the streets in dramatic fashion, demanding that long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak resign. The octogenarian head of state waffled, stating his intention not to run for re-election in September and assuring a transition of power to his vice president Omar Suleiman. Finally, after yesterday’s address that insisted the leader would not step down, Suleiman officially announced that Mubarak indeed will resign. Politico has covered the story from the perspective of the White House and the rest of American politics. Since this news is breaking and still in progress, here are some quick thoughts on the site’s coverage of Mubarak’s resignation:

  • The lead is a large above the fold image of Mubarak on state television addressing his people for the last time as their leader – as it should. A photo of protesters waving a large Egyptian flag also adorned the homepage.
  • The link leads to an article detailing the course of events, protesters’ jubilant reactions and the American response, namely President Obama’s plans to address the media at 1:30 outside the White House. A thirty-second video of Suleiman’s address is clearly displayed
  • Two more articles under the headine are related to the latest developments. One is the “44“, or President Obama’s running diary, with blog text announcing “Finally, A Result” and Obama’s plans to make a statement.
  • The second is  the “Arena”, or “daily debate with policymakers and opinion shapers,” has the topic, “A Berlin Wall Moment for Egypt?” Moderator David Mark asks questions about what the move means and what’s next, and three responses are listed so far with possibly more to follow.

In what is clearly a fluid and significant course of events, Politico has deftly responded, removing yesterday’s content about Mubarak’s faux-resignation and replaced it with timely analysis and response. Be sure to check Politico and other media outlets for how the rest of the situation will play out.

– PW

2012 Live: Only 643 Days to Election Day…

But who’s counting? Here’s someone who is:

Obama Announcement 2/2007

Senator Obama announces his candidacy. | Photo Courtesy Flickr user acaben

It may seem like centuries ago, but it’s only been three years since Senator Barack Obama announced his candidacy for president on a cold morning in Springfield, Ill. Having won that race in 2008 but since stumbled at the hurdle midway through his first term, Obama now looks down a gaggle of GOP go-getters, gearing up to give him the boot, with roughly 90 weeks until America votes again.

In the first of an upcoming series, Politico Watch will examine each of the subpages of Politico, all found on the top of the site. The first page is “2012 Live,” dedicated entirely to the presidential race leading up to Election Day in about 21 months. and a large blue button greets the user on its homepage to follow the link – “The campaign trail starts here.”

Politico blazes its own trail with several multimedia aspects that make the site informative for readers:

  • Right off the top, the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada are highlighted and given their own page.
  • The entire page is well-connected to social media, with links to Facebook, Twitter and RSS. They definitely make it easy to follow and share.
  • The best part of the site is the Candidate Hub, where about 25 potential runners (including Obama) are profiled along the right hand side of the page. Each candidate gets a picture, a line of their current activities, three quick articles and a link to a separate site with an entire bio including title, finances, staff, daybook, online presence (whew) and a…
  • Candidate Tracker, a Google-powered interactive map of locations of candidate visits. Users can filter through each presidential potential and see where and when they have been. Way cool.
  • A live blog with articles on the hopefuls updated regularly throughout the day, including a well written piece about “How the 2012ers are handling Egypt.” The group already has a nickname, apparently.


Politico 2012 Screen Grab, Feb. 1


However, some aspects of the site are lacking:

  • The lead is the most important part of a page, and while yesterday’s featured a picture, today just had numbers and text. Visuals are a must for a secondary page like this.
  • What good is a Candidate Tracker if you can’t find it? It was featured on the blog earlier in the week but now you have to click for an individual map.
  • Also buried are maps from 2010 midterms and 2008 elections, which clearly would be of interest to readers of this page.
  • Other than the prominent Candidate Hub, the rest of the features are jumbled and the content is not easy on the eyes, with the blog can pictures every other post.
  • Videos are also nowhere to be found.

Overall, despite some cleaning up to do, Politico figures to be involved in the 2012 race every step of the way. After all, every minute counts on the campaign trail. All 925,920 of them remaining.

State of the Union Coverage

Hello all,

Politico Watch is still buzzing the morning after President Obama’s State of the Union address, which lasted approximately one hour. As Politico’s self-described “Super Bowl” kicked off and all the way until the final whistle blew, the site’s moment in the spotlight did not disappoint. Here are some multimedia highlights from Politico’s coverage:

  • Starting promptly at 9 p.m., Politico ran a live blog of the speech. With auto-refresh feature keeping the commentary flowing smoothly, updates came every two to three minutes. The analysis was crisp, using quotes from the speech while addressing its content and also noting the behavior of the audience. A final “takeaway” summarized it all in a paragraph.
  • Under the headline, “Obama’s SOTU puts economy first,” a slideshow of 24 photos from inside the chamber of Congress is interesting and easy to access.
  • Directly next to the photos is a multimedia box complete with videos of “State of the Union Highlights” as well as the response of the Republicans by Rep. Paul Ryan and the Tea Party by Rep. Michelle Bachmann. A video player pops out of the page, playing the selection in full with other videos listed alongside.
  • Below the pictures, about a dozen sub-headlines tackle the individual issues from the remarks, ranging from health care and energy to earmarks and patriotism. Other article topics vary from what was not included to the speech’s jokes and what Michelle Obama was wearing. Several photos and videos are embedded.
  • Again, the GOP and Tea Party responses are covered, though not largely.

Overall, PW awards Politico the MVP in this political “Super Bowl” – perhaps it should be an MVB, Most Valuable Blog. In the coming weeks, PW will watch out for the fallout from the address and ensuing policies on Politico and see if they can keep up the good work.

– PW