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.

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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


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.


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.