Journalism Students Contribute to Political Web Site, Analyze Campaign Coverage on the Web

Oct. 10, 2008

AUSTIN, Texas — Journalism students at The University of Texas at Austin are producing content for a non-partisan political Web site that provides an unbiased look at the presidential candidates and their campaigns.

Students in the course, Journalism 320D: Intermediate Reporting, are analyzing media- and user-generated coverage of the 2008 election campaign from Web 2.0 media, such as Twitter, YouTube and the blogosphere, and distilling that information into concise summaries of the day's events—as judged by citizen journalists—on TubetheVote.com.

"By sifting through the glut of political content in various forms on the Web, students are becoming more knowledgeable about how campaigns frame their candidates and what various organizations do with that information," said George Sylvie, associate professor in the School of Journalism and head of the school's multimedia program. "The fact that they're dealing with social and new media is particularly appealing to these students—most of whom are digital natives."

TubetheVote.com editorial content is updated each day to offer a fresh take on existing Internet content. Sections include:

  • Top or Flop—Recounts the most memorable event of the week for each campaign—both the good and the bad
  • 100% Biased—Shows the most skewed coverage on both sides of the aisle
  • Twitter—Highlights user-generated "tweets" about the most popular election topics
  • Sleeping with the Enemy—Exposes party insiders as they publicly criticize their own
  • Best Parody—Highlights the silly, fun—but telling—comedic impressions of the campaigns
  • Quote Quiz—Tests voters' knowledge of their candidates: who said what?
  • User Videos—A platform for anyone to upload or view a favorite video of campaign 2008.

University of Texas at Austin journalism students are responsible for producing each of the sections for Friday's editions of TubetheVote.com. Students from journalism departments at Florida A&M University, Michigan State University and Midwestern State University also are contributing to the site.

For more information, contact: Erin Geisler, KUT Radio, College of Communication, (512) 475-8071; Susan Weingram, 551-404-3963.