Peter Snow's interactive swingometerFollowing Rupert Murdoch's landmark speech last week urging newspapers to wake up to the web, it was interesting to see how his News Corporation websites would choose to tackle UK election coverage.

The Sun is alone in the tabloids in having a devoted election section, with an 'e-poll' and election tracker which allows you to search by country, postcode, constituency, party targets and candidate - although for the latter searches for Blair, Howard and Kennedy failed to yield any results.

Times Online's online election coverage is even more impressive and includes audio reports by political editor Peter Riddell and an interactive Q&A with John Sergeant. Most impressive is a visually engaging slideshow illustrating the change in Britain's political landscape over the last four elections, and Flash game Quote Unquote which asks the user to match quotes with party leaders.

Beyond Murdoch world, the BBC - which had promised 'the first truly interactive election coverage' - offers an imaginative and absorbing section. An animated Peter Snow hosts a raft of interactive tools including a quiz, seat calculator, and poll tracker - while the real Peter Snow provides video instructions on how to use the interactive swingometer.

Channel 4 News online goes for the hard-hitting angle, launching the FactCheck site to 'test the veracity of claim and counter claim', while it also gets brownie points for its co-opting of Photoshop Battles.

The Guardian's online arm continues to impress with a simple but effective policy comparer and - for those who want to watch that Minghella soft-focus over and over again - a page of party political broadcast videos.

The Daily Mail may not be known for the technological literacy of its audience, but has some imaginative use of the web with live
chats with politicians
, polls, an election messageboard and, best of all, an election quiz that claims to reveal who you're likely to vote for.

Common Features

Some features are more or less standard. Specific election email alerts are offered by the Guardian and the BBC, where you can also download a desktop alert service. And Channel 4 offers an SMS alert 'when the election is won', conjuring up images of being woken at five in the morning by a strange beeping sound.

RSS junkies, meanwhile, can subscribe to specific election feeds at Sky News, the Daily Mail, the Guardian, and the BBC (both election
and blog), and you can find interactive election maps at The Guardian, Channel 4, Sky News and The Times - although many don't promise to show anything until the results start to come in.

The now-ubiquitous blog has been taken up by a number of sites, including the BBC, the Daily Mail and the Times. The Guardian has an election blog and a candidates' diaries blog, and incorporates a 'folksonomic zeitgeist' to show what the current talking points are.

But biggest of all is Channel 4, which has a whopping eight election blogs written by both presenters and MPs.

And having spent your day immersed in MP-speak and the vagaries of the election system, you could be forgiven for forgetting the journalism: get your own back by clicking on a leader and starting Radio 1's cathartic mud slinger game. Who gets your vote?

More news from dotJournalism:
Election blog gives readers a voice
FactCheck site to sniff out political spin
Today site recruiting election bloggers

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