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: Click

A screenshot from Politico's "Click," an offbeat political aggregator.

Political media sources tend to be on the serious side, and well they should be. The problems facing our nation are no laughing matter, from budget battles to wars abroad. Yet any heavy issues require a degree of levity and . Enter Politico’s Click, the “premier destination for news and gossip on D.C.’s social scene” and the feature of this chapter of PW’s Page Watch.

 

  • The lead is a multi-photo collage of five of the “The Week In One-Liners,” including White House Adviser David Plouffe, former Florida governor
    Charlie Crist, President Obama, and of course, Donald Trump. 14 articles, each with a large blue headline and image, populate the page beneath.
  • Some of these articles include a video as well, such as a clip from Congressman Dennis Kucinich as a ventriloquist on “The Daily Show.” There’s even a weekly Politico Playback video which has an about two-minute collection from “The Best in Late-Night TV.”
  • Another weekly feature is “By the Numbers,” which highlights some key numerical figures from the week in politics and an accompanying story. For example: “3: The number of days lawmakers had to read the fine print in the compromise cutting $38 billion from the current year’s budget.”
  • The fun continues in the archives under “More Click,” which shows the next 20 articles plus over 340 more pages of material.
  • The right-side of the page has more features, including the top 6 “Most Popular Clicks;” social media tie-ins with the “Tweet of the Moment” and buttons to “Get Your Clicks” on Facebook, Twitter and RSS; “Quick Clicks” with external political links; The Scene with social and cultural events around Washington and a form to submit anonymous tips; and a Click Poll to accompany a chosen story,
All told, “Click” provides a breath of fresh air in the dark, cloudy world of politics and does with a good use of multimedia.
NEXT: THE FINAL OFFICIAL POST OF PW
With the semester coming to an end, an overall review of Politico is on order, though this will not be the end of PW.

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


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.


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