After commenting recently on their previous online debate (and its peculiar format), I was not completely surprised to receive an email from a PR person working on behalf of The Economist:
Thanks for writing about The Economist Debate Series on technology and education. Since you’ve shown an interest in our debates, I wanted to tip you off to our second series of three debates which kicks off today. The first proposition raises important questions about civil rights and the trade-off between *Privacy vs. Security*. As a blogger and member of the community that The Economist aims to serve with this lively debate, we wanted to extend an invitation to you and the readers of eme ká eme to join the debate by blogging or commenting to the debate floor. (No subscription is necessary).
More details are below…
Timing & Proposition:
Feb. 5 – Feb 15: “Privacy vs. Security – This house believes that security in the modern age cannot be established without some erosion of individual privacy.”
Should people sacrifice elements of our privacy for the sake of making our world a more secure place? (…)
Of course, on receiving it I asked the PR person for some details on their promotion strategy and the definition of that «community» that The Economist aims to serve with the debates, both of them extremely interesting topics in my view. Also of course, the PR person squirmed out of the questions without leaving any data in my hands :-).
It is both fun and sobering to find The Economist (hiring people to go) reaching to online nodes and conversation-makers in the way we’re all learning to love and use for the promotion of web initiatives, events and communities, not to mention politics. Even if it’s through an agency, this is another example of the magazine embracing new media in a sensible way. They’re doing quite a lot of it lately, after taking a couple of years of dot-com-bust respite. And they seem to be going the way of citizen journalism in a touchy-feely way, which could prove an entertaining experiment.
The debate itself is interesting, too :-).