With the clock ticking before the first polls close on the east coast, I thought I'd test out some of the whizzy online interactive gizmos that various sites are offering as part of their election coverage. Some of them even offer gadgets you can embed into your own blog posts. Such as this one...
...: MSNBC's live result counter. It refreshes automatically every 2 minutes so should be showing Obama's sweep to victory as it happens...
01.05am Looks like the Times and the Telegraph are a bit embarrassed by their election night maps, syndicated from the New York Times. It's still showing 0-0 - i.e no results at all. Everyone else showing 104-34 in Obama's favour. The Times has given up and dropped the map from its home page. On the BBC site, Justin Webb is saying:
"If the Reuters projection that Pennsylvania is won by Obama is true, the night has ended relatively early. There is nowhere else McCain can hide." I'm really off for bed now.
00.55am The Philadelphia Enquirer has this story that CNN really did made a 'breakthrough' with its coverage. It projected a hologram of its reporter Jessica Yellin into the studio set. Cue plenty of jokes about Star Wars. Surely it doesn't get any better than this. I'm off to bed, safe in the knowledge that the Centre for Journalism's embedded map will be updating the results for its, er, thousands of nocturnal readers, throughout the night. Obama 84, McCain 34.
00.45am One of the advantages of the Times's CoverItLive tool is that it gives an audible cue whenever the content uploads. So even if I have another tab window open, I get prompted to check back when it updates. Mind you, the Times map is still showing no results. The BBC (and the Centre for Journalism too, thanks to its embedded MSNBC tool) currently shows 8-3 McCain, while Sky, Fox News and others are showing 13-3 McCain.
00.12am The New York Times is the other behemoth that has shovelled plenty of resources at its online coverage. It has loads of stuff for site visitors to play with, including a very clever interactive feature on campaign finance, allowing readers to visualise how much each candidate has raised - and when - in each part of the country. The NYT's main map has a very good feature: it allows you to select a view in which states are represented by their weight of the electoral votes, rather than their geographical area. This has the advantage of giving a clearer view of who is ahead once states start to turn red and blue.
00.04amNow it's caught up. We're off and running.
00.02am The BBC has just called the first electoral votes. McCain leads 8-3. No sign of life on my MSNBC's embedded map, yet...
11.45pm As expected, the two giants of the US newspaper market have gone all out with digital wizardy for their coverage of tonight's events. Indeed The Washington Post has gone the whole hog and turned itself into a broadcaster for the evening. It is streaming live video coverage, anchored by political journalists from its own team and from Newsweek. Not sure this is particularly wise; it can't hope to compete with the big TV networks on a set-piece broadcast like this. Still, elsewhere on the Post site, there's some great stuff. I particularly like its TimeSpace map and timeline, bringing together pictures, blogs (and tweets), video and audio from across the states.
11.41pm The Mail has a clickable map too, while the Mirror is live blogging with Anton Antonovicz and Bob Roberts.
11.31pm The Sun's map is courtesy of realclearpolitics.com.
11.25pm At The Telegraph, there's a busy blog run by Matthew Moore, but a disappointing lack of online technical wizardry as far as I can see.
11.20pm The Beeb's election night juggernaut is getting into gear over on BBC1, with Jeremy Vine in charge of the touchscreen map, rather like Tom Cruise in Minority Report. Hope he spares us the embarrassment of his infamous American cowboy impersonation. Here it is again, just for good measure:
11.09pm The Times, meanwhile, has an embedded map courtesy of the New York Times (more of which later). At this stage - before any results are in it's showing Obama with 291 electoral votes, McCain with 163. Presumably this is the NYT's predicted final position, although it's not altogether clear. The Times is also using CoverItLive as a blogging tool.
10.49pm 9 mins 24 secs before the first polls close, according to CNN's countdown clock. I'm having a flick around the Brit newspaper web sites to see how they're doing things. The Guardian's coverage is in the hands of Oliver Burkeman, who will be doing a live blog as results start to come in. It also has this useful roll-over map, which helps visualise which states are safe for each candidate, which they are likely to win, and which are up for grabs.