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Internet-Based WNY Media Joins Mainstream Press in Covering Elections

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – The mainstream media were out in force Tuesday night providing election coverage. But at the Democratic party gathering in the lobby of the Ellicott Square Building, there was an additional presence. For the first time, representatives of Internet-based Western New York Media were providing their own coverage, live on their website.

They're known as Buffalo Pundit and Buffalo Geek. And just like the rest of the reporters covering election night, they were set up at Ellicott Square talking with politicians and providing analysis.

The audio quality was low fidelity. And they were unable to get their live video stream working. But Marc Odien, managing editor of Western New York Media, says more than two thousand people logged onto their audio stream Tuesday night for their coverage.

Buffalo Pundit is local attorney Alan Bedenko. He says their coverage was more free-wheeling than what was provided by the mainstream media. He also notes they're not constrained by FCC regulations. But Bedenko says they approached their coverage seriously.

Still, Bedenko and his partner on election night coverage Chris Smith are not trained journalists. John Hanchette, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who now teaches journalism at St. Bonaventure University, says that shouldn't matter if the content bloggers are producing is good.

Indeed, the bloggers at Western New York Media say they're looking to establish their credentials as a news organization and that Tuesday night's coverage was only the beginning. Says Marc Odien, Western New York Media will play just as important a role as the more traditional media outlets in covering local news events.