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Monday, February 4, 2008

Oh that Magic Wall

(screencap courtesy of Book Asylum)

So who is the star player on the Best Political Team on television: Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Candy Crowley or John King? I enjoy all of the above but for me, the star is CNN's new toy, the Magic Wall. (okay, that was a trick question, sorry!)

Much has been written about Perceptive Pixel's Magic Wall so I thought I'd give you a little peak at this new technology and how CNN came to acquire the cool analysis tool. According to, David Bohrman, CNN senior VP and Washington, D.C., bureau chief saw a demo of the wall at a trade show back in 2006.

Initially, Bohrman intended to wait until November to integrate the Magic Wall into CNN’s election night coverage. However, it was too good to wait, he said. The Perceptive Pixel technology shipped to CNN in New York last week, and programmers from the company customized the system’s software for last night’s coverage over the three days leading up to the Iowa caucus. “They’ve taken our elements and palettes and incorporated them into their graphic system to match our look,” Bohrman said.

“It has enormous capabilities,” he said. “We will be using it a lot over the next year.”

And boy have they been getting their money's worth. The Magic Wall has been used during CNN's extensive caucus and primary coverage. I think it adds an interesting element to their political analysis. I really like how John King or Jeff Toobin can break down votes county by county in any given state.

Paul Farhi also writes about the Magic Wall in today's Washington Post. The creator of the wall, Jeff Han admits that news wasn't his first market for this technology. But to any viewer, it's an obvious fit.

So what does CNN do with the technology after the election season is a distant memory? Stay tuned, I'm sure the creative minds at CNN will come up with wonderful ways to enhance our viewing pleasure!

Super Tuesday Coverage Plans

With CNN's newest political analysis tool in mind, here is today's press release regarding coverage plans for Super Tuesday. Click on the title for full text.

Unprecedented 40-Hour Marathon of Coverage Features Live ‘America Votes 2008’ Panel, Hi-Tech Election Results

The 40-hour marathon of coverage begins at 6 a.m. with a politics-focused American Morning. Kiran Chetry anchors from a location in Harlem, while John Roberts anchors from Tennessee.

At noon, CNN and Time magazine combine the expertise of their top political correspondents in front of a live studio audience for “CNN-Time America Votes 2008.” Anchored by Campbell Brown, the program will feature CNN’s Emmy Award-winning political lineup as well as top members of Time’s political team as they examine the presidential candidates and the issues facing 2008 voters as they head to the polls. Three panels, focusing on Democratic, Republican and independent candidates and issues, will be moderated by Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper and Lou Dobbs.

CNN’s special prime-time programming will begin at 7 p.m. —following wall-to-wall politics on The Situation Room—and run late into the night. Blitzer, along with Cooper, Dobbs and John King, will guide the coverage from the CNN Election Center in New York. Throughout the coverage, CNN anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien and senior political analyst Bill Schneider will review exit poll data. CNN International will simulcast the coverage.

The coverage will lead into a special edition of Larry King Live at midnight hosted by Larry King and featuring analysis and insight into the election results. Live political programming will resume on Wednesday, Feb. 6 with American Morning 6 a.m. As the dust settles, CNN’s correspondents, analysts and top-flight guests will talk about what the results mean for the presidential contenders. The continuous coverage will continue throughout the day and conclude with Anderson Cooper 360°.

...CNN’s Emmy Award-winning political team will be covering all aspects of the campaign trail throughout the weekend and on Super Tuesday from Arizona to Illinois and from California to New York and Massachusetts. Dana Bash and Mary Snow will be covering the Republican candidates, and Candy Crowley and Suzanne Malveaux will be reporting on the Democrats. Also providing reports will be CNN correspondents Jim Acosta, Tom Foreman, Joe Johns, Chris Lawrence, Dan Lothian and Jessica Yellin; Gloria Borger; senior political analyst; Jack Cafferty, commentator; David Gergen, senior political analyst; Bill Schneider, senior political analyst; and Jeff Toobin, legal analyst; and CNN’s nationally known contributors Bill Bennett, Carl Bernstein, Donna Brazile, Amy Holmes and Roland Martin.

I hope you enjoy today's extended coverage. And if you live in a Super Tuesday state, please remember to get out and vote! This is one of the most important elections seasons of our time. But like the New York Lottery motto says, "You gotta be in it to win it!"

Have a great Super Tuesday! I'll see you next week. ~Sheryn

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Anonymous said...

Oh it is called a magic wall. Interesting. Lets
see how many networks copy CNN now that
the secret is out.

Cyn said...

I love that wall! The way they used it for those delegates was so very cool. It's great that they are coming up with new ways to utilize it.