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Downloading Democracy: Politics and the Internet

Date & Time:
15:30:00 - 17:00:00,
Thursday 19 October, 2006


The paper examines the online coverage of the UK General Election of 2005 and the US presidential election of 2004, based on survey research and weblogs from the BBC News website. It finds that the UK has caught up with the US terms of election news coverage online, with one in four voters using the Internet for news. However, it finds that the news universe is structured differently in the two countries, with just a few sites dominating in the UK. It also demonstrates the very different way online audiences consume news, and explores whether the web can help overcome concerns about declining political participation. It ends with some speculation on future political uses of the web, and the future development of news, in the two countries.

Steve Schifferes, a Reuters Fellow at Green College in Hilary Term 2006, is an online journalist with BBC News. He is currently acting business editor of the BBC News website, and has been General Election issues producer, head of the specials team, and Washington correspondent for the website.

This event is being held in partnership with The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford.

Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

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  • Name: Steve Schifferes
  • Affiliation: Online Journalist, BBC news
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