US news outlets battled for online attention during Obama's presidential inauguration and inaugural address on Monday (21 January).

Gathering stories and opinions from communities in Washington, the US and worldwide, a number of news outlets offered digital readers a sense of what the event meant to onlookers and participants by building the community into the newsgathering and reporting process.

The day after, here is a selection of just five examples of how news outlets involved the community in compiling their digital coverage, which caught our eye. Please let us know of other interesting examples of digital inauguration coverage you saw in the comments below.

1. The Grid – The Washington Post

WaPo Grid

The Washington Post used their "live experience" platform 'The Grid,' which was first launched last year to present update snippets from the Republican National Convention and Democratic National Convention. It was again used during the presidential debate, presenting the reader with tiles of content, such as links to Washington Post stories as well as Instagram pictures, tweets and video.

For the inauguration, participation was encouraged through Instagram and 'cinemagrams' - created using an app which brings movement to photos - with the hashtag #imthere, while a sidebar message facility asked users to describe how they felt about the event, with their answers moderated and then added to the Grid.

Cory Haik, executive producer of digital news for Washington Post, said the idea was to "capture the sentiment on the ground and display it for people looking in who aren't here".

"We wanted to capture a direct response on our site as not everyone is on social media – 16 per cent of US adults are on Twitter according to Pew. Part of our job as journalists is to capture and reflect back that social sentiment."

The Wall Street Journal also produced a stream of coverage, bringing in liveblog entries and social media.

2. Your messages for Obama – the Guardian US

Guardian messages

The Guardian US asked their readers for their thoughts in the form of "advice, praise and (civil) criticism" and collated them using the n0tice community message board platform and the hashtag #messsage4obama.

The callout generated a variety of interesting responses, curated in an interactive display. They also re-opened their Flickr group from 2008 to invite photo messages.

3. The Gigapan Photo – The Washington Post

WaPo tagged picture

Keeping with the #imthere theme, the Washington Post's interactive high resolution photo of the crowd outside the US Capitol allowed you to tag yourself using Facebook while the paper tagged the VIPs and officials themselves. A mobile view was also on offer.

The New York Times also produced a high resolution photo which they tagged with names – but looking inward from the crowd at the VIPs and officials.

4. 'In the crowd', with Instagram – CNN

In the crowd

CNN curated Instagrams for its 'in the crowd' feature, using hashtag #cnn. They also asked their audience to say "why you're attending the inauguration." CNN provided its own editorial picks from the bunch at the top of the feature, adding context and avoiding any possible repetition. Submissions could be made using Instagram or CNN iReport.

Lila King, senior director for social news at CNN Worldwide told on the day of the inauguration that as of 3.30 pm ET on Monday, "we've seen some 8,000 photos on Instagram with our #cnn hashtag since we started promoting the project this weekend, and more than 6,000 just today".

"For context, we received about 2100 photos for an Election Day Instagram project tagged #ivotedcnn."

She added that "success wasn't only about numbers". Their producers were also able to support TV output by interrogating the pictures for more stories, getting much more out of their community.

"You can see it in the faces and stories we've drawn out of all the photos. They were aired on CNN television throughout the day and featured on"

5. Video wall of Washington residents – New York Times

NYT video wall

Also at the New York Times, and this video wall gathers messages from residents in the District of Columbia to the President, presented powerfully using audio of the messages laid over a video of the resident standing still.

As well as engaging with the community to produce coverage of the inauguration through social media and using video and audio, news outlets also produced interactive features which also centre on community engagement in the days to follow. Here are just two examples:

1. Build your own speech – New York Times

Speech builder

This game from the New York Times allowed users to choose clippings of historical inauguration addresses across various themes and then share them via Facebook, Twitter or a web link to build their own inauguration speech.

The interactive also revealed which President uttered each excerpt after it had been chosen.

2. Inaugural language - The Boston Globe

Boston Globe interactive

Similarly to the New York Times speech builder, the Boston Globe also produced an interactive feature which enables ongoing audience engagement with the inauguration even after the event.

The language-focused interactive enables users to delve into inaugural speeches of the past, analysing and visualising the language used.

The features highlighted above are just some of the many digital and interactive features produced by news outlets to cover the inauguration. If there are any other you think should be highlighted let us know in the comments below.

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