- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Washington Times has launched TheConservatives.com, a Web site with technology that allows activists to talk up to ideological and party leaders and interact in innovative ways.

TheConservatives.com - run by The Washington Times with contributions from the Heritage Foundation and other organizations - is a tool to “reinvent the right” and help move the public discourse.

“TheConservatives.com creates a cutting-edge new marriage between the social publishing world of bloggers and the social networking world of Twitter, YouTube and the like,” said John Solomon, executive editor and vice president for content of The Times. “Most opinion sites today enable thought-leaders to talk down to the masses, but TheConservatives.com empowers users to change the direction of that dialogue, allowing the Joe the Plumbers of the world to speak up to major thinkers, like Newt Gingrich.”

Mr. Solomon said similar Web sites that would appeal to progressive and moderate online readers are being considered.

Speaking of TheConservatives.com, he said, “It is convenient, it is groundbreaking and we believe it will transform grass-roots communications, enabling a two-way dialogue. The best ideas can grow up from the netroots, reaching like-minded opinion leaders. It is a technology and a concept that can be adapted by thinkers on the right, the left and the center.”

The site also provides a wealth of information, TheConservatives.com editor Brian Faughnan said.

“Readers can track the latest news in The Washington Times and other news organizations, and take in analysis and commentary from Times reporters and personalities like Amanda Carpenter or issue experts from Heritage and other leading conservative policy groups,” Mr. Faughnan said.

“There’s a very vibrant debate within conservative circles about the future of their movement, and TheConservatives.com is uniquely positioned to capture that in a thoughtful way,” Mrs. Carpenter said.

In a crowded media marketplace, the site offers a focused, comprehensive experience - tracking important fragments of daily conservative thought and offering a true bloggers forum.

“We’ve also built in a social media aggregator, one that no other political blog is currently using. The aggregator sweeps Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and other social media and delivers updates in real time from more than a dozen leading conservative officials, strategists, bloggers, talk-show hosts and others,” Mr. Faughnan said.

“So if you’re a fan of Jim DeMint, Mike Huckabee, Glenn Beck, Karl Rove or others, we offer a one-stop shop where you can find everything that they’re talking about, and in real time,” he added.

The mechanism is part of new technology that provides a nimble, personable link for visitors.

“We’re thrilled to be providing TheConservatives with cutting-edge social publishing technology that enables their readers to engage and connect with the news, the editors and the designated political experts on the site,” said Chris Alden, chief executive officer of Six Apart, the San Francisco-based provider of the social-publishing software.

“Readers can easily find the content they need, and ‘action streams’ keep them current on the latest from elsewhere on the Web,” Mr. Alden said.

Users can publish their own microblog posts, weigh in on the issues and get feedback from the big-name individuals.

“Anyone can create an account and start blogging,” said Mr. Faughnan. “Or you can vote on the items written by others. In another feature unique to our site, we will take the top-scoring items at the end of each day and send them to one of a range of nationally recognized conservative leaders for an answer.

“So if you register and write a post on health care, or tax policy, or political strategy, and that post is voted by other users as one of the site’s best, then that post will get a reaction from a leading conservative expert in that area.”

The Washington Times already maintains a substantial presence online. Consistently ranked among the 40 most visited news sources by Nielsen Online, The Times’ site boasts multiplatform applications for readers interested in on-demand video, opinion polls, slide shows and other fare.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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