I’m willing to stand up and say it. C-SPAN, which is dedicated to airing non-stop coverage of government proceedings and public affairs programming, is the one channel that we all skip past as fast as possible on those rare occasions that we actually flip the channels on un-Tivo’d television. If not for The Onion making fun of it all the time, I’d forget it existed. If CSPAN has a demographic, no one I know is part of it. I bet that even the people who work at C-SPAN never watch C-SPAN voluntarily.
But today C-SPAN gets fairly cool with the launch of two new sites dedicated to the upcoming Democratic Convention in Denver and Republican Convention in Minneapolis. C-Span is still workingout some technical issues, but TechCrunch readers can get an early preview by clicking on these links for DNC08 and RNC08. Both are similarly formatted sites that incorporate citizen journalism via blogs, Twitter, YouTube and Qik into portals to cover convention and related news. They will complement the existing C-SPAN Politics site.
The sites also incorporate normal C-SPAN video content. But unlike the unwieldy content on the main C-SPAN site the new sites will show video in Flash format and allow embedding on other sites. Third party blog content from sites like Huffington Post, Instapundit, Gateway Pundit, RedState, etc. will be incorporated into the site and Twitter messages marked with hash marks #RNC08 or #DNC08 will also appear on the site (with moderation). C-SPAN employees will be given Qik cameras to record the action when not on main camera.
All in all, it’s a great effort to spice up coverage with user-generated, up-to-the-minute content. This may not make the cable channel more watchable, but political nuts will definitely want to bookmark the sites. It may have the most up to date news on the conventions.
Screen shots below: