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.
- 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
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:
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 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.