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Impeachment dominates news sites

Net sites jumped into action to report that the House of Representatives passed impeachment charges against President Clinton.

Traffic on Internet news sites surged this weekend, when the House of Representatives passed impeachment charges against President Clinton.

CNN said today that the traffic on its Web sites for Saturday was 9.85 million page impressions--18 percent higher than its typical weekend traffic. "Saturday was the culmination of four very busy news days and was able to offer users coverage of the two major breaking stories, Iraq bombings and the impeachment debate," a spokesman said.

On Saturday, Web sites carried up-to-the-minute reports of the Pentagon briefing on the fourth night of bombings in Iraq. Another story made Net headlines too: House speaker-elect Bob Livingston surprisingly announced that he will resign from Congress next year.

Reportage on all three stories--a busy news day, to say the least--included news bulletins, live Webcasts, polls, and online chats. All are a reminder of the Web's explosive growth as a bona fide news outlet, alongside television and newspapers.

"To get the latest information, refresh often," CNN's Web site read.

The news network?s site ran a photo of Clinton on its front door, along with a story of the impeachment vote, a chart listing the vote on each article of impeachment, and a poll asking Netizens whether Clinton should resign.

The site further included the latest reports on the bombing of Iraq, Livingston's planned resignation--alongside an icon directing PC users to some holiday shopping opportunities.

ABC offered some instant analysis: "Senate trial could be quick." The site also offered a "live impeachment chat."

"I am outraged with House Republicans," one user said. "If anything, they should be impeached."

Another disagreed: "This is a great day for American history. Clinton should have resigned before the House debate."

The TV and cable-owned Web sites also referred PC users to ongoing TV broadcasts, another reminder of their strategy to cross promote across different mediums.

Internet directories, a growing source for online news, participated on a more limited scale. The front door of Yahoo read: "President Clinton is impeached." The Internet directory culled stories from the network Web sites and Associated Press for its coverage.

Excite carried Reuters reports on the news and listed the headlines on its front door.