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ABC News, AOL Offer 'People's State Of The Union'

ABC News and America Online Inc. have created an "electronic town square" that will deliver citizen feedback to President Bush's State of the Union address.

ABC News and America Online Inc. have partnered in creating an "electronic town square" that will deliver citizen feedback to President Bush's State of the Union address scheduled for Tuesday.

The two companies said Monday that the interactive news campaign, called "The People's State of the Union," will feature a live ABC News blogger and analysis on AOLNews.com. The campaign also will allow viewers to contribute text and video comments on the speech and on the response by Democrats. Selection portions of the feedback will air during the network's coverage on ABC News Now, ABCNews.com and AOLNews.com

Online visitors can submit text comments to AOL, and video segments from cell phones and other wireless devices to ABC News. ABC anchors will answer viewer questions through video responses, which will be posted on ABCNEWS.com and AOLNews.com, and commentary from AOL users will also run on a ticker on ABC News programming and ABC News Now.

"Working with ABC News, we are creating an electronic town square, where Web users can offer real-time feedback on the president's speech and offer their own views on the State of the Union," said Lewis D'Vorkin, vice president and editor-in-chief, AOL News and Sports. AOL, based in Dulles, Va., is a unit of Time Warner Inc.

The announcement is a reflection of the ongoing merger of TV and the Internet. The strategy is a way to drive TV viewers to the Web, where advertising growth has outpaced traditional media. Experts say a significant portion of Americans watch TV with a laptop nearby.

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