In a blog post about the CNN/YouTube debates, Jeff Jarvis wrote: "TV doesn't know how to have a conversation. TV knows how to perform."
We agree, and that's why Slate—in partnership with the Huffington Post and Yahoo!—is happy to announce that we now have a date for the first-ever online-only presidential candidate mashup. The event is set for Sept. 12. It will be moderated by Charlie Rose, and all eight Democratic candidates have agreed to take part. (We are in discussions with the Republican campaigns for a GOP candidate mashup to follow later in the year.)
What's a candidate mashup? It's a new kind of campaign forum that will put you in charge of shaping exactly what kind of viewing experience you want to have—from the questions that are asked to the way you can pick and choose the issues you want to hear about and the candidates you want to hear from.
Here's how it will work: Charlie Rose, armed with questions you will have sent in, will have a conversation with each of the candidates (more on these questions in a minute). After the candidates have finished talking, the video will be coded and put at your disposal—empowering you to create the candidate mashups of your choosing.
Want to see what all the candidates said about Iraq? It's just a click away. Or maybe you just want to compare the answers of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Or perhaps health care is your primary concern, and you want to see how John Edwards' take on the issue compares with Joe Biden's or Chris Dodd's. The point is, you can watch what you want, when you want, and how you want. Focus on one candidate or one issue or mix and match. Then share your takes on what you see with your friends or other mashup users. It's Campaign 2008 meets Web 2.0.
So today we start by asking for your questions. You can submit them in any format you want: written in an e-mail, shot on video, delivered via podcast. Simply send them via e-mail to email@example.com. If you wish to submit an audio or video question, include in the e-mail a link to the audio or video you've posted elsewhere.
Our partners Yahoo! and the Huffington Post also will be gathering questions, and there will also be platforms for submitting questions on MySpace and Facebook.