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Best digital coverage of the U.S. elections

Best digital coverage of the U.S. elections

My first instinct upon waking this morning was, “Need newspaper. Now.” And then I remembered that it’s 2012, and that I’m supposed to be a "digital native" millennial-type, so I reached for my iPhone. Without the intermediary of a foot-chilling front stoop, I was then immersed in a torrent of triumphant and cantankerous tweets, a red-and-blue chequered electoral map, and a New York Times video interview with a humbly vindicated blogger.

In the wee hours of November 7, 2012, while nocturnal printers churned out front pages of a beaming Barack, and radio and television airwaves resonated with the sound of his voice, almost every media player in the country (and many beyond) was concurrently converging on another, more instantaneous playing field. News organisations large and small, legacy and start-up, greeted Wednesday with virtual front pages proclaiming Obama’s victory, and promising a clickable cornucopia of elections-related multimedia tempting enough to drive even the most disciplined worker to procrastination. And then there were the memes... 

Tonight I’ll indulge in the timeless pleasure of tinting my fingers black as I turn back historic front page after historic front page. But as far as using digital tools to enhance election coverage goes, I think President Obama would agree that 2012 was not bad. Here are our selects.

Best infographics

The New York Times

Long a pioneer in the ever-more-critical realm of data journalism, The Times once again wowed us with its ability to convey complex ideas through code. In the lead-up to last night, it gave us a quiz-like graphic that allowed users to find out where they stood compared with other readers on the election's major issues, and an animated map showing the various ways that the country could be conquered. This post-call visual shows how much of the nation shifted to the right, even as the left was declared victorious.

For the Infographics Archive's list of the election's best infographics, click here.

Most accurate pundits

Paul Bradshaw called this election a "wake-up call for data illiterate journalists." Considering the brouhaha that arose over Nate Silver's statistical "witchcraft," I (despite being a muggle) am inclined to agree. But Silver is not the only data expert to have sprinkled his model with magic...

Nate Silver - The New York Times' Fivethirtyeight blog

Many a media commentator is giving this man more attention than the President-elect today, after his much-criticized forecasting model was proven to work pretty darned well.

Josh Putnam - Frontloading HQ 

A visiting assistant professor of political science at Davidson College, Putnam based his Electoral Map on the weighted average of state polls. He put Obama at 332 Electoral College votes and Romney at 206. So far Obama has taken 303, there are 29 undecided, and Romney has won 206, according to The Times.

Best infographic about pundits


There's nothing like a pundit dart-board to keep track of which witches might be worth betting on in four years' time (although "we try not to make bets around here"), and which ones flunked divination.

Best animated graphic novel

The Guardian

There wasn't too much competition in this category (as far as I know), but the Guardian's mix of humour and ingenuity was spot on.

Most succinct satire

The New Yorker

“BOSTON (The Borowitz Report)—America cast its historic vote today, sending Barack and Michelle Obama back to the White House while sending Mitt and Ann Romney back to 1954. The election meant the end of the road for Mr. Romney, who had been actively seeking the Presidency for the past sixty-five years..."

Best compilation of close-ups on voters


This assortment of portraits of overcome Obama supporters (from Reuters, AP and Getty Images) is liable to give you vicarious chills, regardless of where your loyalties lie.
Image by Jason Reed / Reuters

Best photomosaic timeline

The Washington Post 

Feeling nostalgic about the campaign already? The Washington Post's interactive RUN feature lets users relive moments like the empty chair and debate bloopers in this "visual journey through all of the patriotism, pageantry and pettiness that makes an American election unlike any other."

Best performance despite blackout

ABC News

A mere six minutes before it called the election results, ABC News was in the dark, according to the Hollywood Reporter. A power failure apparently took place at the network's Times Square studios at 10:51 pm, during a commercial break. The lights didn't come back on until 11:17, and ABC called the election for Obama at 11:23.

The final two favourites do not originate from news organisations, but are still worth an honourable mention:

Best moneyshot

This tweet by @BarackObama quickly became the most retweeted message ever posted on Twitter, breaking the record previously held by Justin Bieber.

Best GIF

Wait until you see it dance...


Emma Knight


2012-11-07 17:12

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