WASHINGTON, DC—Markle Foundation President Zoë Baird today announced a collaboration between leading Internet traffic centers and the Markle Foundation called Web White & Blue 2000. The collaboration will help voters, journalists, and others use the Internet to learn more about the presidential candidates, their campaigns, their scheduled debates this fall as well as the way the online resources are impacting politics in this presidential election year.
The Markle Foundation’s non-partisan, non-profit Web White & Blue 2000 project will involve the following Charter Participants:
- America Online
- CNN’s allpolitics.com
- npr.org (National Public Radio Online)
- Oxygen Media
- PBS Online
- washingtonpost.com’s OnPolitics
Said Zoë Baird, “Web White & Blue 2000 represents the belief—shared by the Markle Foundation and its collaborators in this effort—that emerging information technologies can fundamentally enhance the electoral process. The Web White & Blue 2000 sites will be a collective resource for voters, for journalists and for those citizens who usually sit on the sidelines: electronic access to the Presidential campaigns, to additional election information, to behind-the-scenes places—as well as an opportunity for the public to voice their opinions and ideas. By stimulating debate and interest in the electoral process, the unprecedented collaboration among the participants in Web White & Blue 2000 holds the promise of revitalizing American democracy.”
Web White & Blue 2000 will build on the successful Web White & Blue collaboration supported and overseen by the Markle Foundation during the 1998 election cycle. In addition to each participant’s own election content, Web White & Blue 2000 will augment the traditional televised Presidential debates with a complementary “Rolling Cyber Debate.” This format will enable the campaigns to expand on their candidates’ televised answers while offering voters potential features like pre-debate forums with debate moderators, and access to “official” post-debate spin. This shared content from Web White & Blue 2000 will be available at each of the Charter Participants’ sites. (In the coming weeks, additional participants are expected to join those listed above.)
In addition, Web White & Blue 2000 will syndicate features like the “Best of the Best”—content that represents the finest election coverage and campaign material on the Internet. And it will offer a “List of the Rest” detailing other organizations that provide valuable information using online resources.
The Markle Foundation also opened its Web White & Blue 2000 project to participation by other dot-com and dot-org entities today. Beyond the involvement of the initial Charter Participants, the project will ideally involve academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and public interest groups with a keen interest in how Internet technologies are being used in politics. Markle is forming an advisory board of academic experts who will provide guidance to the Web White & Blue 2000 project.
Mike McCurry, former White House Press Secretary, and Doug Bailey, founder of the Freedom Channel.com (a non-profit organization) and the political newsletter, The Hotline, as well as Jonah Seiger, co-founder of Mindshare Internet Campaigns will assist the Markle Foundation on the Web White & Blue 2000 project.
McCurry, a Democrat, and Bailey, a Republican, are helping design and manage Web White & Blue 2000 and are serving as its liaisons to the Presidential campaigns, political parties and related organizations, like the Commission on Presidential Debates. Seiger, who helped orchestrate the first live webcast of a Congressional hearing, will manage the technical aspects of the project.
Web White & Blue 2000 is part of the Markle Foundation’s focus on Public Engagement through Interactive Technologies, which encourages the use of communications technology to help people a ctively pursue knowledge and participate in democratic society.
Markle pursues its goals through a range of activities including analysis, research, public information and the development of innovative media products and services. The foundation creates and operates many of its own projects-using not only grants but also investments and strategic alliances with non-profits and businesses.