TONY COX, host:

Our radio broadcast is just one way you can get a News & Notes perspective on the political conventions. Our coverage also continues online. I'm joined now by Geoffrey Bennett, the web producer for News & Notes. Geoffrey, nice to see you.

GEOFFREY BENNETT: You too, Tony.

COX: You're a busy guy. How has our online community responded to Obama's choice of Joe Biden as his running mate?

BENNETT: Well, responses have ranged from one person who said Biden was a great pick to another who said Obama made a terrible decision. But it's interesting, Joe Biden was the top choice of our unscientific online poll. We asked who Obama should pick as his VP, and 40 percent of all respondents chose him. So despite how people feel about Biden, I think a lot of people assumed that Obama would pick him. And Hillary Clinton interestingly was the second choice.

COX: Really? As we get close - well, not closer to the convention, we are at the convention now - have you noticed an increase in the online traffic? Because I know people have really been paying attention. But now that we're here, are they really into it?

BENNETT: They are really into it. And everyone has an opinion. And everyone wants to make their opinion known. And that's just what they're doing.

COX: Now, what are some of the things that we're going to be looking forward to, that our bloggers can look forward to on our website this week as part of our convention coverage?

BENNETT: Well, through npr.org, we have complete convention schedule so people know when to set their TiVos. We also have profiles of all the key Democratic players and we're also going to pose photo feeds from the convention floor. This morning, Michelle Obama was getting ready to make her speech and she was testing out the mics. And so we have some photos of that.

And then our blog News and Views, starting today through next week's Republican convention, we're hosting two guest bloggers, Princella Smith, a self-described Republican activist and Farah Jasmine Griffin, she's an author and Columbia University professor. And they're both on the ground, they're going to be offering their perspective and some first-hand reporting from the convention floor. And Griffin has a post through us written today about yesterday's interfaith worship service. And on Thursday, when Obama accepts the nomination, we're going to host a real-time, live, online viewing party for all the people who couldn't be there, but want to watch it and weigh in with their online friends.

COX: Man, that's a lot of stuff.

BENNETT: Yeah, a lot of stuff going on and it's all at our blog, nprnewsandviews.org.

COX: Nprnewsandviews - all one word - dot org, right?

BENNETT: That's right.

COX: I have another question for you about it, because I'm curious - this is not the first time that the Internet has been involved in politics and at a convention. But are we at another - what shall I say - stage? Have we increased in some way the involvement of the Internet through this political process?

BENNETT: I think so. I think this year in particular, I think the Internet is a far more legitimate medium for people to interact. You have things like social networking, Facebook. Barack Obama and John McCain both have Facebook and MySpace profiles. And so people are logged on and their engaged in ways that they weren't before. And I think when those walls break down, it's a lot easier for people to interact and instead of watching TV or listening to the radio, they're actually online.

COX: You know, one of the issues that some of the people who blog had with this convention, and I'm presuming with the GOP as well, was access and credentialing. How did that finally work itself out?

BENNETT: There are more bloggers of color at this year's Democratic National Convention. I'm not sure about the Republican National Convention, but that was an issue in the past. And bloggers this year, as opposed to years past, are seen as, you know, legitimate, maybe not journalists, but a legitimate way to get the word out and for people at the conventions to actually, you know, relay what's going on.

COX: OK. Just in case some of our listeners did not get it, give them again our web address and just really briefly tell them what they can see if they go to News and Views even right now.

BENNETT: Well, right now if you go to nprnewsandnotes.org, that's our show page where you can listen to today's show and catch things that you might not caught when you're in the car or listening to it at home. And our blog is nprnewsandviews, and that's where we have first-hand reporting and in-depth profiles and all sorts of blogging and cool stuff.

COX: All right. Appreciate it. Geoffrey Bennett is the very busy web producer for News & Notes, especially busy this week of a Democratic National Convention. Not to say you're not busy all the time as well. He joined me from our studios here at NPR West.

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