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A Note About How BNN Covered the DNC

09/ 7/08

bnn dnc screen grab

Before it gets too out of date, I wanted to write a bit about BAGnewsNotes’ convention coverage, and how I converted the home page of a typically once-a-day updated blog to a virtually continuous visual news portal for the week.

Because we were going 24/7 for four days, we had to rethink the blog format. With multiple posts a day, big news (and big features, like the exclusive photo galleries we’d be getting from our photographer on the floor) would be pushed down, and off the page before they lost relevance. Therefore, we needed to create a “news” section at the top of the page. The function of this news section/sticky post was threefold: to highlight exclusive content and/or breaking news, to link to interesting posts that have been pushed down or off the page and to link to relevant and interesting content from other media sources. The underlying philosophy was the classic new media adage “do what you do best, and link to the rest.”

bnn dnc screen grab

To accomplish this, I created new a new advanced template for Movable Type/TypePad with a permanent sticky div at the top in which the news section would reside. I also branded the coverage with the same blue/periwinkle button that we had been using to tease the coverage for a week prior. This button was positioned absolutely so as to look “pinned” onto the newsbox. (Related note: there were absolutely no free buttons in Denver— a serious downer at a political convention. I tried to buy an Obama button for ¢50, but after they told me I needed to fill out a whole sheet of paper for tax reasons, I decided to forget it.)

As both designer/coder and editor, I made sure that all three sections were continually updated, and that we got new photos for the feature image as soon as Alan Chin (our photographer) processed them and gave them to us. The results were pretty stunning, both visually and traffic-wise. Not only could we boast exclusive slideshows for nearly every night of the convention, our traffic consistently rose each day.

bnn dnc screen grab

We did so well, our database of slideshows, hosted by Photagious, crashed on Thursday hours before Obama’s big speech from the onslaught of traffic (we were cross-posting to both Huffington and Digby). I furiously converted all of the shows to flickr from the Invesco press box. Our Bill Clinton slideshow went on to get more than 100,000 views on flickr before we switched back over to Photagious a few days later.

The whole experience was exhilarating, and proved that a three-man team can provide near-continuous coverage of an event (at least until burnout sets in).

The sticky news section isn’t up anymore, but here’s a link to our complete coverage, and a post (with photos!) about the best team in visual politics at the convention.