Paper #1: Politics Online

This assignment asks you to look at the web sites of declared candidates for the U.S. presidency in 2008.  Look at the nature of the site, what content appears on the site, how candidates use their web sites, and how dynamic (regularly updated) the site appears to be.

Republican and Democratic Candidates (top 5 in each party, according to Polling Report, 13 September 2007)

Rudy Giuliani Hillary Clinton
Fred Thompson Barach Obama
John McCain John Edwards
Mitt Romney Bill Richardson
Mike Huckabee Dennis Kucinich

Select three of each party's candidates to analyze, and find their main web site (please also provide this information). You should look at the site for content, usability, currency, etc.  Try to find issues and answers.  See if the site includes some way to sign up for regular updates.  Look at the site to determine overall quality of it as a sort of marketing site (because that’s really what it is) for these candidates.

Please address the following questions, explaining and providing examples as appropriate. Base your answers on the candidate and major political party sites above:

  • To what extent is the web a useful medium for political candidates? Compare this medium to what was available for candidates in a pre-webbera.
  • To what extent is the web useful for voters or supporters of prospective candidates? What can they do that they were unable to do before the web showed up?
  • Which of the sites above did you believe were effective as political sites? Be specific about which ones you liked or did not like. Rank them from 1-3 in each party's cluster, then indicate who you believe has the best web site of the six you examined.
  • Was there content you couldn't find, but which you believe should have been at the various sites? Explain for each site.
  • Did any of the web sites offer any "push" opportunities to keep people in touch with either candidates or parties? How effective do you believe these opportunities are?

    This paper is due two weeks from tonight, 27 September 2007.

This page created and maintained by
Dr. Deb Geisler
Department of Communication and Journalism
Suffolk University
Boston, MA  02108
Last updated 13 September 2007