The Internet Beat on the Campaign Trail

Pindell, James
March 2004
Nieman Reports;Spring2004, Vol. 58 Issue 1, p33
This article offers insights on the role of the Internet in political campaigns and political journalism in the U.S. Following the 2000 presidential election cycle, news organizations and political campaigns had learned how to make the Internet play a critical role in their work. Strategists for former Vermont Governor Howard Dean's presidential campaign found a way to use the Internet to perform old campaign routines: raising money, signing up and facilitating discussions with supporters and organizing a grassroots community to contact voters. Political journalists found an easy way to read many newspapers and follow political developments in other states by tapping into Web sites that overflowed with stories about the campaign. In New Hampshire, PoliticsNH.com--an Internet news organization--emerged with little overhead and demonstrated new ways of reporting and documenting the state's presidential primary process quickly, comprehensively and accurately. The growth and popularity of PoliticsNH.com can be explained by a series of factors: target audience; New Hampshire being a small state; the state's political establishment is inclusive; and the state's media are made up of a number of small news outlets with limited resources.


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