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.

Advertisements

Politico and the Shutdown Showdown

A screenshot of one of Politico's many pages dedicated to the 11th-hour budget deal.

As the dust settles from the budget deal that averted a government shutdown, it is worth examining Politico’s multimedia coverage of the shutdown showdown that nearly brought the first stoppage in over a decade.

  • In a remarkably wide scope, there were no less than 20 articles covering many different angles of the unfolding drama and the agreement, from the winners and losers to how the 2012 candidates reacted.
  • One interesting story in particular from Click (a subpage that PW will cover next) included a moment in the proceedings where Congresswoman Donna Edwards quoted a song by The Whites Stripes, “Effect and Cause,” in describing the conditions leading to a shutdown. The piece includes a video of the testimony as well as a link to the song itself.
  • Several other  videos in the aftermath of the deal are posted on the site, including the responses of Speaker of the House John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and, of course, President Obama. The list was updated Sunday following appearances on talk shows by Sen. Chuck Schumer, Rep. Mike Pence and others.
  • A slideshow of photos leading up to the deal showed the tension rising between the parties and more images from the deal should be added as well.

In one of the biggest political stories of the year, Politico delivered clear and cohesive coverage. Stay tuned to see how the aftermath of the deal unfolds.


Page Watch: Congress

Politico pulls away the curtain on Congress. | Photo courtesy Flickr user Sean Stayte

In this installment of Page Watch, we examine Politico’s coverage on Congress. The legislative branch of government has been seemingly cast aside in the era of executive power, especially in the case of President Obama’s decision on Libya. But as the national budget continues to dominate headlines and merit attention, Congress is still a relevant player in the political field and Politico’s subpage dedicated to the bicameral chambers is worth a look.

  • The lead features the main story accompanied by a picture, such an an article about GOP House Leader John Boehner’s “moment of truth” in the budget deal negotiations. In this case, several videos of Boehner and other GOP members are included as well.
  • Among the other articles is a weekly “Sunday talk show tip sheet” lays out an organized rundown of scheduled appearances of major political players on This Week, Face the Nation, Meet the Press, and other programs.
  • Below the articles is a “Congressional Scorecard” which lists how many Democrats, Republicans and Independents reside in the House of Representatives and the Senate. A quick reminder of the political roster as it stands after the 2010 midterm elections and a handy counter for the party lines in both chambers.
  • Stories more than 2 days old are relegated below the scorecard to a “More Congress News” section, with just headlines.
  • Historical and contextual resources fill out the rest of the page. First, there is a list of important links related to Congress, such as the official sites of the House and Senate, as well as the Federal Election Commission and Library of Congress. The staff Politico writers are also listed, though only by name.

    Screenshot of Politico: Congress, April 3.

  • An interesting feature of the site is This Day in Congress, highlighting significant events in congressional history, such as Abigail Adams’ feminist initiative in 1776. However, this is updated sporadically during the week, perhaps because a landmark or anniversary doesn’t happen every day.
  • Also on the negative side, the site is lacking a blog of easy-to-read and essential content, as well as social media connections for sharing the site.

All told, the page is a good collection and presentation of congressional coverage, though an easier interface and more would help make it even better.

NEXT ON PAGE WATCH: POLITICO CLICK


Politico Has March Madness

March Madness has infected Washington. | Courtesy Flickr user mvongrue

It’s NCAA tournament time and even Washington is getting in on the action.  Politico has published a couple of articles covering politicians’ participation in March Madness.

First, President Barack Obama has been questioned by members of the media for filling out a bracket with his picks and taking time on ESPN’s Sportscenter to do so, rather than focus on the multitude of issues at home and abroad. Politico covered the story, called “W.H. responds to bracket gripes.” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney answered NBC News’ Mike Viqueria, “There are crises all the time, for every president.”

And Obama was not alone in getting caught up in the basketball action. Politico’s Amie Parnes writes, “As happens every year when March rolls around, Washington has become a mini-Vegas,” and compiles a nice round-up of various political figures and their Final Four choices in the tournament. These include Carney himself and Democratic National Committee Press Secretary Hari Sevugan. The GOP is in on the fun as well, with Tony Fratto, former deputy White House press secretary under George W. Bush and and Republican strategist and former RNC spokesman Doug Heye. Senator Kay Hagan (D-SC) even has a video on YouTube challenging players to beat her picks.

It’s good to see that even our leaders can be a little like us, and Politico does a good job in presenting it. Happy March Madness, one and all.


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.


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