Chuck Todd: NBC's new politics site is for armchair viewers, political junkies
NBC has just launched a new politics site that provides readers with a place to track political news, dig deeper into polls and make their own predictions about the outcome of the 2012 elections.
“The ultimate goal of NBCPolitics.com is to create a one-stop shop for everything NBC News is doing to cover politics, serving up content for everyone from the armchair viewers to the political junkies,” Chuck Todd, chief White House correspondent, said via email. “For those who want to see delegate tracking scenarios, or do their own electoral vote tracking, we’ll have those tools on the site.”
Previously, NBC's political content was spread throughout msnbc.com -- on show pages, the politics section and the home page. Now, users can visit NBCPolitics.com for breaking news updates and analysis from NBC’s "First Read" politics blog, and for highlights from NBC’s political shows -- “Meet the Press" with David Gregory, “The Daily Rundown” with Chuck Todd, “Hardball” with Chris Matthews, "Morning Joe," and “Andrea Mitchell Reports." Msnbc.com will continue to feature pages for each individual show.
NBC hopes that by bringing all the content together, there will be less confusion.
“We’re bringing all our political aspects to one destination and think this will create a better user experience,” NBC Chief Digital Officer Vivian Schiller said in a phone interview. “The site looks at politics in a Webbier way rather than through the filter of television.” She noted that NBCPolitics.com is the latest example of how NBC and msnbc.com are “integrating better.”
Interactivity is a key component of the new site. In the next few months, NBC plans to launch an NBC Politics iPad app, which will feature an interactive battleground map that readers can use to test potential electoral vote outcomes during the run-up to the general election. The map is similar to the one Todd has used in some of his coverage.
“Why should he have all the fun?” Schiller said. “This is the opposite of ‘don't try this at home.’ We want to let readers see how their electoral map ends up shaping out in reality.”
The site will also be home to a new “Foursquare Campaign Check-in” feature. Readers will be able to use the feature -- which is part of a partnership between NBC and Foursquare -- to view candidates’ activities and track NBC reporters in real time as they travel with the campaigns. NBC has also partnered with Facebook to host the Jan. 8 Republican primary debate, and will live-stream the debate on NBCPolitics.com.
One of the site's current features is the Voter Confidence Index, which measures the level of confidence people have in the president and his party at a given time. Readers can track the voter confidence index for President Barack Obama and compare and contrast it with the index for past presidents.
Readers can also look at various profiles on the site to find out more about Obama and the Republican presidential candidates. Beyond providing basic biographical information, the profiles include a Twitter widget with the candidates' tweets, links to their Facebook and YouTube pages, information about their stances on major issues, and related NBC and msnbc.com content.
The goal, Schiller said, is to provide readers with a breadth of original reporting that will help them become more informed voters. Along with its political analysts, NBC has eight reporters who are filing from the campaign trail full-time: Garrett Haake, Andrew Rafferty, Jamie Novogrod, Carrie Dann, Alexandra Moe, Anthony Terrell, Jo Ling Kent and Ali Weinberg.
With the new site, it’s easier to find the reporters’ content and their tweets, which are highlighted in a Twitter widget.
“We’ve had correspondents and political embeds on the ground covering these stories for a long time, producing countless hours of raw video of candidates on the campaign trail,” Todd said. “This will be a home for that video.”
The site’s use of video is another factor that distinguishes NBC Politics from other political news sites, Schiller said: “That is where our great power is and where our great strength is. By definition, the campaign is a pretty visual story. You don't want to just read about it; you want to be able to see politicians interact; you want to look at their body language; you want to see the speeches.”
NBCPolitics.com will be competing against the top three political sites (as ranked by comScore): HuffPost Politics, CNN Politics and Politico.
Ultimately, the folks at NBC hope they can better meet their audience's needs.
“NBCPolitics.com,” Todd said, “is meant to do exactly what our viewers and users expect us to do -- more of everything.”