For the past few weeks, Vermont has been debating gay marriage — again. The state passed the civil union law in 2000, and now the legislature is trying to upgrade civil unions to marriage. Seven Days, the alt-weekly in Burlington, Vt., has been reporting the twists and turns of this historic event aggressively on the web.
Seven Days political columnist Shay Totten covered the floor debate in the House and the Senate using Twitter, a free micro-blogging service that allows users to send and receive messages of 140 characters or less. And when the legislature held a public hearing and asked for testimony from Vermonters, Seven Days staffers Cathy Resmer and Don Eggert moderated a live blog using a free service called CoverItLive.
During the House and Senate debates, Seven Days streamed Totten’s Twitter feed onto its homepage. During the public hearing, the paper embedded our live blog on its home page, and on its staff blog. Seven Days also partnered with a local government-access TV station to offer a live video stream of the public hearing on its website homepage; it appeared beside the paper’s live blog.