CNN Election Center meshes traditional and interactive news, social media

By Sean McDonough

Currently, the race for the GOP Presidential general election nominee has made its sojourn in South Carolina where candidates are vying for votes in Saturday’s upcoming Republican Primary. As is in every election season, breaking news at an almost hourly basis has transformed causal news consumers into political junkies craving up-to-the-second campaign updates. To meet this demand CNN.com has launched their CNN Election Center which provides readers with interactive news story mediums such as polls, trends and videos as well as traditional news reports, columns and opinion pieces.

The CNN Election center meshes aspects of social media and interactive news reports like polling with traditional news. At the top of the Election Center is a caption of the news organization’s Twitter handle, @PoliticalTicker which directs the reader to the CNN Politics Twitter feed where they can follow up-to-the-minute reports and breaking news.

The majority of space in the middle of the Election Center web page is filled with the day’s top stories. These, in addition to the opinion pieces that line the right side of the page characterize the Election Center’s more traditional modes for news reports.

Juxtaposed with the top stories and opinion headlines is a section titled, “The Conversation,” which tells readers which news topics are being discussed in the comments section after each story. By rolling their mouse over a topic the reader is able to see how many people have posted comments a certain topic. Currently, “2012” which refers to the 2012 election leads all other topics.

Farther down the page is another caption for the blog, 1600 Report which showcases links to a separate CNN page that focuses on the happenings within the White House.

At the bottom of the Election Center page is a section prompting readers to share their own opinions and stories that relate to the 2012 campaign. Here, readers who want to interact with the site are provided space to write a blog entry or upload a video.

By utilizing popular components of convergence within news media, CNN.com has established a successful platform for online political story-telling that appeals to readers seeking both traditional and more modern, interactive ways to digest their news.

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