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October 6, 2008

U.S. Presidential Conversation Goes Global Through Unique Partnership of Journalism and Social Media

U.K.'s The Independent, Russia's Gazeta and India's Mint All Meet on LiveJournal for U.S. Election Discussion and Debate

On Tuesday, November 4, United States citizens will elect either Barack Obama or John McCain as their next president. As important a date in history as this is for Americans, the election also has significant repercussions outside of the U.S. With this in mind, LiveJournal is proud to announce a uniquely global community dedicated to the discussion of the Presidential campaign.

Called US Election 2008, the community is for journalists from newspapers outside of the United States to gather the views and opinions of U.S. citizens regarding the pending Presidential election. The community is intended to facilitate wide-ranging public discussion of important political issues, including reactions of people in the U.S. and abroad to the issues faced by the U.S. Presidential candidates. Participating newspapers include The Independent from the United Kingdom, Gazeta.ru from Russia, and Mint from India. New topics are presented by journalists posting questions or articles for review in this community. Participants then respond to those questions and their views, when necessary, are translated into the language of the publication to represent the views of those living within the United States.

Anyone interested in monitoring or joining in on the conversations can do so at: http://community.livejournal.com/us_election2008/.

Some of the journalists currently engaged include Anil Padmanabhan and Melissa Bell of Mint, Aleksey Levchenko and Alexander Artemyev of Gazeta.ru, as well as Anne Penketh and David Usbourne of The Independent.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for journalists at The Independent to talk directly to U.S. citizens about the election, as well as for citizens in the U.K., India, Russia, and around the world to debate an election which affects all of us," said Jimmy Leach, Editorial Director for Digital at The Independent and one of the moderators of US Election 2008. "This is an unprecedented use of the Web to go beyond traditional media and hear directly from real citizens rather than pollsters and pundits."

The community officially went live on September 26 and it's clear that politics and passion go hand in hand. Following up on the opening question (Do you think Sarah Palin is ready to be president? And does that make McCain's age an issue?), journalists from the participating newspapers have also introduced topics such as the current U.S. economic crisis, outsourcing, terrorism, abortion, the qualifications of both Vice Presidential candidates, and the role of the Web in the election process. There have also been heated discussions following the two debates thus far.

During the October 7 (9:00 pm EDT) "Town Hall" style Presidential debate in Nashville, community moderators will follow the debate on the US Election 2008 community, seeding questions to the community in real time. The conversation will directly follow the twists and turns of the debate, creating a virtual Town Hall to mirror the debate.

"Mint is delighted to be the exclusive India partner for the US Election 2008 community on LiveJournal," said Raju Narisetti, editor of Mint, India's fastest-growing business newspaper and website. "The responses help complement reporting on the U.S. elections from our partner, The Wall Street Journal, as we are able to use the Web to build bridges between our readers and U.S. citizens."

"We're very proud to host the US Election 2008 community, as LiveJournal has always had a culture of passionate and intelligent dialog - truly communities without borders," said Matthew Berardo, Vice President and General Manager of LiveJournal. "To be able to let our users express their opinions directly to some of the world's most prestigious media companies is an exciting opportunity. It means that citizens from around the world can debate an election which affects the entire global community."

"We are honored to participate in this community and fascinated to see how the conversations continue to develop," said Roman Badanin, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Gazeta.ru. "Given that U.S.-Russia relations are part of the Presidential debate, having direct access to U.S. citizens on this topic is groundbreaking territory."

About LiveJournal

LiveJournal is one of the world's most respected community publishing platforms. Since its launch in the United States in 1999, LiveJournal has become the online home to a wide array of creative individuals looking to share common interests, meet new friends and express themselves. LiveJournal encourages community and personal expression by offering users both a user-friendly interface and the ability to deeply customize their journal. The site allows users to set up their own virtual diary and communicate with their friends by posting and receiving comments on each other's entries. In many countries the site's most popular functionality is the community aspect which allows users to engage each other on issues of common interest.

LiveJournal has registered more than 16 million accounts since its founding, and currently has a worldwide monthly audience of 20 million of whom 5.7 million are Russian based (Omniture, TNS Gallup). LiveJournal Inc. is headquartered in San Francisco, CA. For more information, please visit http://www.livejournalinc.com