TelevisionWeek contributing writer Daisy Whitney is blogging about the pinnacles and pitfalls facing viewers who want to consume television in new ways. Check in frequently as Daisy kicks the tires on the new media juggernaut and dishes on which services do -- and don’t -- make the cut.


Trial and Error

MSNBC Rate the Candidates

May 17, 2007 1:24 PM

Today the role of the Trial and Error host will be played by a news junkie.

OK, so I’ve been hearing on the blogosphere in the last few days about this cool new video feature on MSNBC.com that lets viewers rate the presidential candidates.

So over at the news site, I play the role of a not-completely-impatient-and-annoyed-reporter, but rather a curious-and-thoughtful-news-hound willing to root around for political coverage.

I carefully peruse the home page, scanning all around, finally stopping at “politics.” Lots of lovely photos, headlines, blogs. Hmm….where can I rate the contenders?

Wow! I see it – it’s the 24th entry under the “Headlines” list in the middle of the page.

Not so easy to spot, is it?

But let me tell you this, “Rate the Candidates” is a pretty nice feature. Bold and clean and easy to navigate, you simply click on one of the neatly laid out photos of the candidates and a video plays in an embedded player. Which means – I love this – you don’t have to leave the page.

So I watch a clip from Rudy Giuliani and then skip over to Duncan Hunter.

I’m having so much fun watching the videos I almost forget to vote.

So I click on the link to submit my ratings and MSNBC kindly asks me if I am sure I want to. Then I realize I haven’t rated them and I’m not sure how I should.

I hop down to the link for the Democratic candidates and notice the actual instructions – I am supposed to move a simple scroll bar to positive, negative or neutral. OK, I can do this. I submit my votes, as have at least 80,000 other certified news-philes like me. Then I click on the “before” and “after” links to see how the candidates fared in the voting before and after viewers watched the video clips from their debates.

All in all, this is a cool feature but it should be much easier to find.


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