September 7, 2006

As the midterm election campaign moves into high gear, MSNBC.com unveils today an innovative and dramatically expanded politics section featuring coverage, video reports and analysis from NBC News and National Journal Group’s Inside the Beltway publications and political experts, including Charlie Cook and Chuck Todd.

MSNBC.com and National Journal Group recently announced their new partnership, which includes collaboration with NBC News and MSNBC TV and has the newly revamped web site being launched today as its centerpiece. The site, found at politics.msnbc.com, is designed to be the premier online destination for political information for politically-engaged Americans and voters around the country.

"Our new politics section brings together the best of National Journal and NBC News in an unmatched interactive package,” said Jennifer Sizemore, Editor in Chief of MSNBC.com. “Not only does this partnership provide the best and deepest political content available anywhere, it is delivered as only MSNBC.com can: immersive, accessible and absolutely, always first."

“This new partnership gives us the chance to showcase National Journal Group’s first-class publications and editorial talent to an audience beyond Washington,” said John Fox Sullivan, Group Publisher and Chief Executive of National Journal.  “Political junkies across America will now have immediate access to Washington’s most astute insiders.”

“Over the years, NBC News has built the best political coverage operation on television, lead by ‘Nightly News’ anchor Brian Williams, Washington Bureau Chief and Moderator of ‘Meet the Press’ Tim Russert, and ‘Hardball’s’ Chris Matthews,” said Steve Capus, President of NBC News. “This new partnership will bring the strength of our on-air reporting to our online audience in ways that take maximum advantage of the web.”

The new site at politics.msnbc.com will feature political news and information from National Journal Group’s writers and publications, including targeted race rankings and analysis for top House, Senate, and Gubernatorial races, columns from Chuck Todd, Editor of The Hotline, and Charlie Cook, Editor of the Cook Political Report, and candidate profiles from The Almanac of American Politics.  The site will also highlight recent polls and select campaign advertisements as well as a vastly expanded section for political video.

The launch of the new site and the new partnership will be celebrated this evening at an event at the National Journal offices at The Watergate.  Hosts John Fox Sullivan, Jennifer Sizemore, and Tim Russert will be joined by a group of political experts and insiders.  Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball," will broadcast live from the launch party at both 5pm and 7pm, and his guests will include Charlie Cook and Chuck Todd, Anne Kornblut, Washington Correspondent for the New York Times, Chris Cillizza, Washingtonpost.com, Joe Trippi, Democratic Strategist & Former Dean Campaign Chairman, Jennifer Sizemore, Editor In Chief of MSNBC.com, Tom Matzzie, Washington Director of Moveon.org and Tucker Eskew, Former Bush Deputy Asst. for Communications.

MSNBC.com, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, is the exclusive online channel for the NBC Universal News family, which includes “Today,” “NBC Nightly News,” “Dateline NBC,” “Meet the Press,” “Hardball” and MSNBC TV. MSNBC.com's mission is to provide the optimal consumer experience, presenting a diverse range of original content and the best from partners in a rich multi-media environment that includes interactive features and free streaming video, allowing users to access the news and information they want, when they want it, 24 hours a day. Based in Redmond, WA, MSNBC.com is a joint venture of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and NBC Universal, a division of General Electric (NYSE:GE).      

National Journal Group is the leading Washington media enterprise whose properties include National Journal, CongressDaily, The Hotline, NationalJournal.com, Technology Daily and The Almanac of American Politics.  Since 1969, National Journal Group has provided “insight for insiders” through nonpartisan publications that cover all the power players in Congress, the executive branch, the lobbying world, and beyond.  National Journal Group’s parent enterprise, Atlantic Media Company, is a Washington, D.C. based publishing company whose flagship properties include The Atlantic, National Journal, and Government Executive.  With more than 1.5 million readers among the ranks of business, politics, government and academia, the publishing properties of Atlantic Media enjoy a prestigious reputation, unique in 150 years of American journalism.

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DETAILED ELEMENTS OF THE NEW “POLITICS.MSNBC.COM”

CONTENT:

POLITICS.MSNBC.COM, powered by NBC News and National Journal, will feature exclusive content from: National Journal's publications including The Hotline and The Almanac of American Politics; NBC News' political division featuring “Meet the Press” and “Hardball;” The NBC News Political Unit and the NBC News Washington bureau; news and features from MSNBC.com's own reporting staff; and content from MSNBC.com’s wide array of content providers from Newsweek to the Washington Post.

HIGHLIGHTS OF POLITICS.MSNBC.COM

*           Hotline race rankings

*           Almanac profiles

*           Political handicapper Charlie Cook's race rankings and analysis

*           Expanded sections for “Meet the Press,” “Hardball” and NBC News political video

*           Midterm election and Washington news on NBC News’ politics blog “First Read”

*           Special Hardball/MSNBC.com top-to-bottom coverage of major political events

*           Exclusive interviews with candidates

*           Polls and analysis

*           Message board of user views and conversation

*           Deep background information on local races

*           Live streaming of debates

SPECIAL FEATURES OF POLITICS.MSNBC.COM

The new politics section features experimental design and functionality that will evolve as usage and reader reaction are gauged.

Highlights include:

*           Using a wider page optimized for most monitors, its design is striking and modern, and sets it apart from the rest of the site, visually emphasizing its innovative and experimental nature.

*           The graphically driven lead story area allows for an ever-evolving mix of the interesting and important, using photos of different shapes and sizes and creating a high-impact home for the best of that day's standing features.

*           It offers new customization features, maximizing the "over-the-fold" space by allowing users to sort by the type of content they are most interested in: headlines, NBC video, key races and discussions (message boards).

*           It allows a more detailed custom experience within each category, allowing users the option of sorting and organizing their political news experience by a story's importance, date or source.

*           In the headlines view, the user is able to view just a headline list or headlines paired with a summary of the story.

A NEW CUSTOMIZABLE POLITICAL MAP FOR USERS OF POLITICS.MSNBC.COM

*           An interactive map, available on the "key races" tab, is a Microsoft Virtual Earth map of the United States, with deep information from National Journal on Senate, House and gubernatorial races around the country, clickable by location to allow users to drill down into the races most important to them.

ELECTION DAY 2006 COVERAGE ON POLITICS.MSNBC.COM

Election day coverage:

*           The online audience will find an unprecedented resource at www.politics.msnbc.com during the midterm elections this November. Results, powered by NBC News' expertise, will be displayed in real-time on the Virtual Earth map, scannable from county level to the national level.

*           NBC News and National Journal political experts will analyze the races in real time as coverage from around the country surfaces here first.

*           All night, streaming coverage and Web-exclusive interviews will be available.

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