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GOP on the WWW: Internet Picks Up Where TV Leaves Off

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RALEIGH — The big TV networks may be scaling back their convention coverage this summer, but Web news sources are doing just the opposite.

The power of the Web is twofold -- there are no time restrictions and it is generally unfiltered.

A brigade of 2,000 Internet reporters have joined mainline-media journalists in Philadelphia. With the Internet, it is a watershed year for political reporting.

WRAL OnLine is carryinggavel-to-gavel streaming video, using a TV feed from Japan'sNHK Broadcasting.

Thousands of miles of fiber-optic cable will serve Internet and network broadcasts.

"The Internet really lets Americans get the news they want about the convention when they want it," says Tim Fitzpatrick, theRepublican National Committee'spress secretary.

GOPConvention.com lets visitors sign up to be "dot-com delegates." As the convention unfolds, the "delegates" will get special e-mail updates from their state delegations.

The site, as with most political sites these days, is also available in Spanish.

GOP.orgoffers streaming video from GOP-TV.

Netcasters hope to draw a younger group of voters to both political conventions with a hip attitude.

"My generation, in particular, is kind of jaded as far as these conventions and things, and somebody's got to be there to represent, and it's going to be me," said Judge Cal of Pseudopolitics.com.

Most news and political Web sites feature video and audio, chat rooms, pundits and more in a technology revolution not seen since television began covering political conventions in 1948.

The Republican convention is also available on WRAL-DT, digital Channel 53.1. WRAL-DT will also carry the Democratic convention in a few weeks.


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