The collaboration marks an unprecedented use of annotation technology by a major national news outlet to add context to a political debate — Genius, the online annotation platform that empowers users to annotate any page on the Internet, will work with The Washington Post to annotate tonight’s first Republican presidential debate in Cleveland, OH. This marks the first time a major national news outlet uses Genius annotation technology to provide in-line commentary on a live political debate transcript, maximizing the opportunity to go deeper into candidates’ remarks and share reactions almost immediately.
Washington Post journalists and their readers will be able to share their insights, relevant articles and social media posts directly on the transcript as soon as it becomes available. Readers can follow the discussion by clicking the highlighted lines on the page. Anyone who wishes to join the discussion can simply highlight text on the page, follow the prompts to create a Genius account, and begin writing annotations.
“Working with Genius allows us to instantly add context to major news events like the upcoming political debate,” said Cory Haik, Executive Director for Emerging News Products. “As we continue to experiment with new ways of storytelling, leveraging this technology helps us more deeply engage readers by providing a unique and comprehensive news experience.”
“Our collaboration with The Washington Post gives journalists and readers a chance to parse candidates’ statements as the debate is unfolding,” said Ilan Zechory, co-founder and President of Genius. “We’re excited to see how live annotation adds another dimension to the debate.”
Genius is building on a groundswell of recent activity by political campaigns, public figures, and advocacy groups using Genius as a tool for rapid response, information-sharing, and community-building. Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley have invited constituents to annotate speeches and letters on their official websites, while Senator Ron Wyden shared his reaction to FBI Director James Comey’s blog post ahead of the director’s testimony in the Senate Intelligence Committee. Ted Cruz spokesperson Brian Phillips has frequently used Genius to annotate a number of stories about the senator in Talking Points Memo, The Daily Beast and PolitiFact. Even Mayor Bill de Blasio has leveraged the tool’s rapid-response capabilities to dispute information in a New York Post article about sex offenders residing in NYC homeless shelters.