Back from a break – political web sites

McCain  Obama

So the last two weeks, I haven’t read a thing in my RSS reader about journalism. You may have noticed the silence on the blog here. Instead, I’ve been overdosing on political coverage of the U.S. presidential campaign.

That’s okay, because summer is usually pretty quiet on the college media front.

Last night, however, I came across a critique of the web sites of the two presidential contenders that’s worth a read: Obama vs. McCain: Web Design Wars. Brian Yerkes makes the case that Obama’s site is more Web 2.0 than McCain’s.

While news web sites have a vastly different purpose than the web site of a political campaign, there are perhaps lessons college media can take away from this comparison, including the clean look and coherent design of the Obama campaign site, along with the use of tools like blogs and video channels for content distribution.  As just a taste of how much more organized the Obama camp is in terms of web and media savvy, check out the downloads section of the site (where I got the logo above), and try to find something like that on McCain’s front page (I took his logo from the front page of his site).

Of course, Yerkes’ analysis may be a little too geeky, in which case you can look at Vanity Fair’s comparison, or this one from ReadWriteWeb

For a contrarian position, read this blog post by Andrew Romano for Newsweek about the differences between Obama’s blog and McCain’s. I’d disagree with some of Romano’s criticisms of Obama’s blog as too sterile and corporate, while McCain’s newest blog is breezy and fun, but that’s a debate that isn’t likely to go anywhere.