Internet offers customized election coverage

The Associated Press
Saturday November 04, 2000

NEW YORK — Want to keep tabs on the state legislative races across the nation, or perhaps find out more about how your county sided for the presidency? 

Log on to the Internet on Tuesday night for the details that you won’t get on television. 

The TV networks will be focusing on the major races, but they won’t have much time left for local races and county-level details. That information will be provided online by several news organizations and state election officials. 

“It’s really offering a pace that is very similar to other media like television and radio, yet giving people options to get what they want, when they want it,” said Carin Dessauer, election director for CNN’s Web site. 

“You don’t have to wait for Peter Jennings to get to your state,” added America Online’s Kathleen deLaski, referring to the ABC News anchor. 

Web sites promised unprecedented coverage during the summer political conventions and the fall presidential debates, but many surfers found television much simpler. 

Election Day should be different, given the volumes of information and the extent of localized interest. 

“We’ve learned a lot during the primaries, the debates and the conventions,” said MSNBC’s political producer Craig Staats. “This is what we’ve been getting ready for all year.” 

Visitors to CBS’ Web site will get election numbers as the network’s own analysts get them, said Michael Sims, the site’s news director. And the site might even report on projections, he said, before anchor Dan Rather reads them on the air. 

USA Today’s site will carry results for nearly 6,000 state legislative contests, which are key in determining the party that will have the upper hand in redrawing congressional boundaries. 

MSNBC.com will link to sites for local newspapers and TV stations, offering coverage for races down to city council in many parts of the country. 

At The Washington Post, a “Channel Surfer” will compare how the four main TV networks and CNN are projecting individual states. C-SPAN’s Web site will offer continuous feeds from campaign headquarters for Al Gore, George W. Bush, the Green Party’s Ralph Nader and Reform’s Pat Buchanan. 

The WIRE, the news Web site of The Associated Press, will provide continuously updated results from all nationwide races, an interactive map of the United States showing state-by-state returns from the presidential race and a continuously updated graphic showing House and Senate results. The WIRE will also feature video and audio packages from key races. 

ABC News will post exit poll results with breakdowns by gender, income and other variables. The site will continually update a color-coded map showing whether Gore or Bush is favored for each state. 

Steve Jones, the Web site’s executive producer, said television can give meaning and insight to the numbers, “but you will not be able to park yourself in the results of your particular state for any period of time.” 

Although ABC and other sites are expecting record numbers, TV will still be the primary medium this year. Preston Dodd, a Jupiter Research analyst, said network news offers personalities and branding unavailable on the Net. 

On the net: 

Links to major news sites: http://webwhiteblue.org 

ABC: http://abcnews.com 

MSNBC: http://decision2000.msnbc.com 

Fox: http://foxnews.com 

CBS: http://cbsnews.com 

AP: http://wire.ap.org 

CNN: http://allpolitics.com 

C-SPAN: http://c-span.org 

USA Today: http://usatoday.com 

State election sites, through Federal Voting Assistance Project: http://www.fvap.ncr.gov