SAN FRANCISCO (01/26/2000) - It's that time of year again, and the Web scene is ripe with political coverage, punditry, clips, and satire. Aside from the revered print publications online, such as Washingtonpost.com and NYTimes.com, here are some networks and Web sites clamoring for your attention.
If you're a news junkie in need of a fix, you'll want to check out what the Microsoft Corp.'s Microsoft Network (MSN) has to offer. MSN yesterday added a new Political Pulse channel to its network. It currently focuses on Campaign 2000, but will remain a permanent feature. Editors pull in the best content from MSNBC and Slate.com, and update it several times a day.
Political Pulse also will provide more localized political stories unique to your zip code, powered by Netivation's VoteNet.com. The all-politics section of Slate.com is stocked with complete campaign coverage from around the Web, including news portals, political news, and links to parties and campaigns.
Slate also offers a slew of links from a variety of print and TV columnists.
Tomorrow, Microsoft will announce the Web TV Network, which will kick off with a live interactive broadcast of the State of the Union address. (Of course, if you've stopped watching the State of the Union on your TV set, it's doubtful you'll watch on your PC).
Salon.com is a definite must-hit site offering full coverage and analysis from Salon writers, as well as live news feeds from the Associated Press wire. You can also sign up for a "Politics 2000" daily or weekly newsletter in HTML format.
Major networks like CNN.com and ABCNEWS.com are strongest in breaking political news and providing QuickTime video clips of all your favorite presidential candidates. Network sites are typically good resources for background material and archived stories, offering features like candidate biographies, polls, message boards, and e-mail updates. Given the immediacy and interactivity of the Internet, network sites can complement what is seen on the air.
"We don't set out to replace television," says Eric Handler, a spokesperson for ABCNEWS.com. "We put an interactive twist on coverage and complement what ABC is doing on TV."
ABCNEWS.com announced yesterday that it will provide groundbreaking coverage of the January 31 New Hampshire primary in a joint venture with the New York Times. Coverage will include live daily Webcasts, on-site video reports, interactive candidate profiles, and exit poll data throughout the election year. The news is staffed by 40 reporters out in the field and is updated practically every minute. It's must-see TV for true political junkies.
"In Iowa, we were the first site to have caucus results," Handler boasted. "We posted ahead of CNN and MSNBC."
Searchbutton.com is jumping on the bandwagon with its launch of the ElectionSearch2000.org Web site. The public service site is essentially an education tool providing voters with unbiased information about the candidates and their campaigns. You can search candidates' positions on issues by individual or across party lines.
"We're unbiased in the sense that we have no affiliation with any political organization," says Julie Karbo, a Searchbutton spokesperson. "We're completely divorced from the political process."
ElectionSearch2000.org is a very simple and straightforward site, Karbo says, unlike the avalanche of information available from Internet portals.
But if you're looking to be bombarded by headlines and wire feeds, then any old portal will do. Yahoo, America Online, and Lycos offer aggregated political content. The portal advantage, of course, is that you can filter out what you don't want and choose the news that interests you specifically.