When the Washington Post covers the first Republican presidential debate on Thursday night, it will give readers a voice by letting them annotate the debate transcript as it unfolds. In the first partnership of its kind, the Post will be using the annotation service Genius to mark up the transcript in real time–adding color commentary and context, and allowing readers to do the same.
“Anyone who wishes to join the discussion–including the candidates and their teams–can jump on the page and annotate using Genius,” spokesperson Nat Guevara said in an email to Fast Company. In April, Genius unveiled a tool that allows users to annotate any page on the Internet.
Genius cofounder and president Ilan Zechory explained to Politico Media that Genius could serve as an effective way for campaigns to address criticisms in real time:
“[Campaigns] can use Genius as a rapid response tool for their communications teams, getting their message out. So many times candidates make a statement about another candidate’s position and it’s frustrating for the candidate being talked about because they’re being distorted. [The debate] is a perfect use for annotation because… if you can go directly into the statement being made, where it’s being made and make your commentary, then it can cut the legs out from what might be an unfair or exaggerated statement.”