On Election Night 2010, major media organizations are serving up political news on diverse platforms and in portions for every appetite – from micro to mammoth.
Coverage of the 509 Senate, House, and governor's races will be provided in more ways than ever before – from centuries-old delivery methods like newspapers to ABC News's iPad application. The app will let viewers explore “what if” scenarios for House and Senate races using an interactive, touch-screen map.
In addition to on-air reporting of 2010 election results, the networks plan to deliver content using major social-media sites. CBS, for example, is making some of its material available on YouTube. Overall, this is a continuation of trend that began on Election Night 2008, when social-media sites Twitter and Digg both set traffic records, the Associated Press reports.
Election news will be served up this year in lengths for every attention span. In addition to lengthy broadcast coverage, NBC News will update its Twitter feed, for those accustomed to getting their information in 140 characters. MSNBC, the NBC-owned cable operation, will offer marathon coverage – starting Tuesday at 6 p.m., Eastern time, and extending to 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, when the cable outlet’s “Morning Joe” program will be broadcast in front of a live audience in New York until 9 a.m.
If the television schedules are not to your liking, you can always catch an election report on the Web. For the first time in its long history, the "NewsHour" with Jim Lehrer will stream a special election edition online from 10 to 11 p.m. And ABC News's Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos will stream a live program on ABC’s website from 8 to 9:30 p.m., before taking their report onto the broadcast network from 9:30 to 11 p.m.
In addition to picking a platform and portion size, viewers will be able to opt for varying political views for their election coverage. Coverage on Fox News will include the outlet’s cast of major Republican contributors, including potential 2012 presidential contenders Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and Newt Gingrich. Those at the other end of the political spectrum may prefer to tune in to MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow.
For many media organizations, election night is a time to show off technology. In part, the new electronic toys can bring some level of excitement to an election where there may be surprises in individual contests, but the overall outcome is more certain. CNN is trumpeting something called the CNN Election Matrix, which will display exit polling data using three-dimensional graphics.