While the press release makes an important announcement, this is not the first online candidate debate.
Back in the olden days, Web White & Blue hosted the first one in 2000. As I blogged about at E-Democracy.Org the other month, we have a lot to say about e-debate formats from our 1994 to 2006 efforts. Did you watch the web movie? See:
Also note the recent Boston Globe coverage of MoveOn.Org’s Vitrual Town Hall Meeting on Iraq. AP coverage spreading from the announcement that Google news highlights highlights the wrong “slugging it out” theme IMHO – the Internet format should be designed to allow more in-depth answers and a substantive exchange and not to promote a flamefest – that is for cable television news political punditry.
From Yahoo! – Press Releases:
Yahoo!, The Huffington Post and Slate to Host First-Ever Online-Only Presidential Debates, Moderated By Charlie Rose
Debates Will Give Voters a Direct Role in the Debates; Planned for Both Democratic and Republican Candidates
SUNNYVALE, Calif. & NEW YORK & WASHINGTON, Apr 23, 2007 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Yahoo!, The Huffington Post and Slate announced today plans to host two online-only presidential debates during the 2008 campaign. These first-of-their kind debates will be hosted on all three Web sites and give voters the opportunity to ask questions directly to the candidates, participate in the debate in real-time, and even determine which candidate is giving the best performance. The debates, scheduled to take place after Labor Day, will be hosted by PBS’ Charlie Rose. The Democratic debate will feature opening remarks by DNC chair Howard Dean.
“We intend for these debates to be a groundbreaking mix of old and new traditions in politics,” said Charlie Rose. “2008 will be a momentous year for the electoral process in America, thanks in large part to technology and politics connecting like never before. I am proud to host the first ever online only debate, which will reach and engage the voting audience in a whole new way.”
“With presidential candidates announcing online and with campaign ads and fundraising increasingly online, presidential campaigns are moving to the Internet at breakneck speed. Online debates are the inevitable next step,” said Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post. “We are thrilled to be joining with Internet pioneers Yahoo! and Slate to host the first online presidential debates, and to have Charlie Rose as our moderator. These debates represent a further merging of new media technology and politics, and are a great opportunity to bring more people into the political process, and engage the new generation of young voters who spend so much of their time — and get so much of their information — online.”
There will be two online-only debates, one for Democrats and one for Republicans, with invitations extended to candidates who have formally announced their candidacies. These online debates will allow the candidates to participate from whatever location they choose, brought together live via the Internet, and will feature real-time questions sent in by the online audience, as well as viewer questions uploaded on video.
“The 2008 campaign is going to unfold on the Web in a way no previous election ever has,” said Jacob Weisberg, editor of Slate. “We hope these first online debates will be a breakthrough, both in terms of technology and political communication. The candidates will be able to have a real discussion in real time — but without having to be in the same place. We think the Internet can bring the same kind of immediacy to presidential debates that it has to other aspects of the political process.”
“We’re opening the doors of democracy for American voters to participate in the Presidential debates like never before,” said Scott Moore, head of news and information, Yahoo!. “Armchair politics will take on new meaning this election season, as we’re offering voters the opportunity to ask the candidates what’s on their mind.”
About Yahoo! Elections 2008
Yahoo! Elections (elections.yahoo.com) is a destination for voters to connect with the people, candidates and communities most important to them this election season. The site is made up of key Yahoo! social media properties, including Answers, Groups, Flickr, News, MyBlogLog, Yahoo! Video and Upcoming.org. The site also features a comprehensive election news offering, including breaking news, opinion and commentary, and video reports from the nation’s leading news providers. Yahoo! Elections is working with the campaigns for all officially announced candidates on ways they can interact with voters on the Yahoo! Town Hall platform, offering a valuable platform for reaching millions of voters on a daily basis.
About The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post has become, according to The New York Times, “a well-known, oft-cited news media brand in the blink of an eye.” The Web site has over 3 million unique users and over 70 million page views. Later this spring, the site will expand its original political reporting. Also, in conjunction with newassignment.net, The Huffington Post will be adding an entirely new dimension to coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign, deploying hundreds of volunteers to report and blog on the race and add their unique perspectives on American politics. The Huffington Post continues to provide breaking news and opinion from more than 900 contributors from the worlds of politics, entertainment and media.
Slate Magazine is an award-winning Web site that offers fresh angles on stories in the news and innovative entertainment coverage. Slate won the 2006 and 2005 EPpy awards for Best Internet News Service (over 1 million monthly visitors) and the 2005 EPpy award for Best Internet Entertainment Service (over 1 million monthly visitors). Slate can be found on the Web at www.slate.com and is owned by The Washington Post Company. Slate attracts over five million unique visitors each month.
Yahoo! Public Relations
Brian Nelson, 310-907-2748
Ken Sunshine Consultants for The Huffington Post
Dave Cirilli, 212-691-2800
Slate Public Relations
Kris Coratti, 703-469-2673