The Death of Osama bin Laden

"Osama bin gotten:" Crowds outside the White House celebrate the death of bin Laden. | Photo Courtesey Flickr user theqspeaks

It has been less than a day since CNN reported that Osama bin Laden had been killed in a Pakistani compound, but the world – and the World Wide Web – is still swirling and stunned. There are countless angles to this story, but let’s see how Politico covered one of the biggest stories of the year and, arguably, the decade.

  • The lead has shifted from the first whispers of the death of the terrorist mastermind from the official announcement by Obama and the aftermath and details of the mission.
  • Also in the lead are collections from slideshows of bin Laden’s life (coincidentally labeled as gallery 666) and celebrations outside the White House of his death.
  • At least 40 articles following the lead are related to bin Laden, including reaction and details. Interesting ones include conspirators who believe he is still alive and the role of Twitterin breaking the shocking news.

    Screenshot the morning following the announcement of Osama bin Laden's death. May 2 2011.

  • The multimedia page includes a dozen videos, starting from Obama’s announcement and including crowd celebration footage and pundit reaction. Politico’s own Chief White House Correspondent Mike Allen gave his view as well.
  • Each of the subpages dedicated space to the story, from 44’s White House briefing details to 2012 candidates’ reactions (including Rick Santorum’s statement that Obama is still beatable) to members of Congress questioning US aid to Pakistan. Click highlighted celebrity tweets in response to the news and Arena debated the question: “What’s next for the war on terror?”

All in all, Politico has risen to the challenge of covering this momentous occasion with social and multimedia.


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.

NEXT ON PAGE WATCH: CONGRESS


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