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Still in catch-up mode.

Where do most citizens receive most of their political and election
information online???  The government?  Campaign and political party
web sites? NGOs and civic organizations?  My experience (and I swear
a study somewhere says ... can't find it) is that online newspapers
are the number one source of political information for largest number
of people.  What newspapers (and therefore online news sites) do with
political and election news/information is therefore extremely
important.  The Virtual Candidate study starts at the very beginning
of the process and digs into the core journalism part looking into
the perspective and behavior of political reporters.

Steven Clift
Democracies Online

P.S. For those interested in this topic, here are some related papers
under "Research on Internet News":

Download report from:

October 9, 2002

Brian Lustig
(202) 454-6611
Matthew Nehmer
(202) 994-6467


Research by the Institute on Politics, Democracy & the Internet Finds
New Ethical Challenges, Greater Deadline Pressure Linked to Internet

WASHINGTON – The Internet has transformed the way reporters cover
campaign finance and increased the number and diversity of sources
available to journalists, according to a report released today by the
Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet at The George
Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management
(GSPM). But the study of how journalists use the Internet also found
that the World Wide Web has increased deadline pressure for some,
caused e-mail overload and posed new ethical challenges for

“The Virtual Trail:  Political Journalism on the Internet” is based
on interviews with 271 political journalists between April 5 and May
14, 2002.  Three-fourths of the respondents reported finding more
sources, while two-thirds say those sources are more diverse.  Forty-
five percent say they use the phone less now. Yet a third report more
deadline pressure, while the same number say they must cover more
spot stories.

“The more experienced users conduct interviews, interact with
readers, visit more diverse Web sites and put the tools of the
Internet to work for their reporting,” said Albert L. May, the
study’s principal author.  “Yet for many reporters, the rise of the
Internet has also brought more challenges in the form of increased
deadline pressure and an overload of e-mails.”

The study found that more than three quarters of the reporters
interviewed spent at least one hour on the Web each workday; more
than a third spent two hours or more.  In addition, more than half
the journalists said they process more than 30 e-mails a day, while a
quarter process more than 50 each day.

And while the Internet has posed new issues regarding ethical norms
and challenges, the rules are still evolving.  The study found a
strong consensus for reporters to announce their presence in Internet
chat rooms and to notify Web users that they might be quoted.  Yet
there was no agreement on whether e-mail interviews must be
attributed as such, or which quotes need to be corroborated.

The study also found that while reporters have yet to be convinced
that candidate and political party Web sites will have any effect on
the outcome of the races, they are putting the Web to good use in
researching stories, particularly campaign contributions made to

“The Internet has become a tremendous tool for readily accessing
Federal Election Commission records and other materials detailing the
impact of money on politics,” said GSPM Dean Chris Arterton. “In the
past, only Washington-based reporters with long-lead times and deep
resources could seek to understand the influence of money on
politics.  With the Internet, that information is at everyone’s

The study found that the favorite Web site for journalists is the
Center for Responsive Politics’ opensecrets.com, a campaign finance
database that provides quick access to FEC records and other campaign
contribution reports.

The other top-ten Web sites, in order of ranking by respondents, are
National Journal and its “Hotline,” the Federal Election Commission,
Political Money Line, The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN,
ABC’s “The Note,” Rough & Tumble and Project Vote Smart.

The sampling of journalists for the study was based on a non-random,
comprehensive list of
political reporters compiled from known sources and media sites.  A
total of 271 reporters and
editors were interviewed online, and an additional 40 personal follow-
up interviews were

The Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet, formerly known
as the Democracy Online
Project, is administered by the Graduate School of Political
Management of The George Washington
University. Funded by a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts, the
mission of the Institute is to
promote the development of U.S. online politics in a manner that
upholds democratic values.

Albert L. May, associate professor and journalism director at The
George Washington University’s
School of Media and Public Affairs, covered government and politics
at the local, state and national levels for more than 20 years as a
newspaper reporter and editor. A short bio can be found at

“The Virtual Trail:  Political Journalism on the Internet” can be
downloaded at http://www.IPDI.org, or call IPDI at (202) 994-3219 to
obtain a printed copy of the study.

^               ^               ^                ^
Steven L. Clift    -    W: http://www.publicus.net
Minneapolis    -   -   -     E: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Minnesota  -   -   -   -   -    T: +1.612.822.8667
USA    -   -   -   -   -   -   -     ICQ: 13789183

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