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Change Comes Quickly to the White House Web Site

To further President Barack Obama's pledge for more government transparency, the White House plans to use the Internet to communicate directly with citizens and expand technology's role in the presidency. Ray Suarez reports.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    And now, Obama item number three, using the Internet to hear from and organize the public. Ray Suarez reports for our Media Unit.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    In moments, change came, to the Web site that used to promote the Bush White House. With a few keystrokes, WhiteHouse.gov became President Obama's new site. The site declares it's backing up a campaign pledge to make this the most transparent and accountable administration in American history.

    Communication, transparency and participation are the three priorities of the new media efforts, according to the site.

    Thomas Gensemer is managing partner of Blue State Digital, the group hired before President Obama announced his race for the presidency to build the online site and strategy. Campaigning and governing may be different, but there will be plenty of chances to reach out to individual Americans online.

  • THOMAS GENSEMER, Blue State Digital:

    We won't have the exponential growth the way we would in a campaign setting, again, because the milestones don't provide themselves as clearly, but you can see how something around the State of the Union does engage people.

    Anytime you tie in the offline efforts, that's going to bring a lot of eyeballs, both to the television and online. The more you can complement the messages, you watch something on CNN, and you're asked to do something that sort of feels in context with that, that inspires people to not only tell their friends, sort of — we always push for organic growth. You should have a reason to tell someone to join this program.

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