WASHINGTON, DC — Over the last couple of decades, there have been many extensions and plugins that aim to let web users annotate the pages they browse.

The latest is Genius, the site which, previously, let users annotate song lyrics to provide greater insight but which this year opened the technology up to any web page.

Chris Cillizza liked the sound of that. So The Washington Post political writer adopted the tech for his The Fix blog on the Post. Now Cillizza thinks reader involvement is the future of journalism.


“We’re trying to do at least one or two a week,” he tells Beet.TV in this video interview. “In a world in which so much of the storytelling is till linear, this offers us an opportunity to do a different kind of storytelling without doing radically different things.

“Annotation allows you to pack a lot in there. The future will be the future of live-event commentary, running with context. Genius allows you to get closer to that. You’re reading over my shoulder, you can annotate right there along with us.”

The Genius technology is being best deployed when The Post publishes full transcripts of source material, like an interview transcript or a political speech. Reporters can then annotate the key parts for explanation whilst leaving readers with the full material nevertheless.

One of the first uses was to annotate Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC interview with a Donald Trump campaign manager.