New technology enables readers to take part in the election coverage by online news organizations. Thursday's panel Covering Elections examined multi-leveled strategies for expanding involvement and developing a coverage niche for news sites.
Josh Tryangiel, editor of TIME.com, explained that their readers don't go to them for the "what." Instead, they go for the "why" and "how." Aggregating content on the site allows users to dive as deep as they want into election coverage. Tryangiel stressed that online news organizations should "do one thing better than anyone else."
A champion of local election news, Wendy Warren of the Philadelphia Daily News shared how she created the dominant news site for the mayoral race in Philadelphia. TheNextMayor.com sought to have the best content for the election. It achieved this by extensive archiving of press releases, creating election calendars and blogging. "Readers are coming there to make a decision, and they want that from you," said Warren.
As a non-profit, non-partisan information resource, OpenSecrets.org advocates for transparency on the federal level by showing how finances in politics influence elections and public policy. Kevin Rooney, manager director of Opensecrets.org, described how the site tracks donations, lobbying money and campaign spending. Rooney pointed to Followthemoney.org as a good resource for state elections.
"People want this information," said Rooney. "A substantial part of our user base is professional lobbyists. They can use the information because it is available."
-- Emily Hanlon