Washington, D.C. (November 15, 2013)—The Atlantic’s Video channel and social media platform Reddit today announced a joint video initiative entitled “Ask Washington Anything,” featuring interviews with politicians and other Washington insiders—all based on user-generated questions. The series kicks off with Joe Manchin, Democratic senator from West Virginia; Grover Norquist, founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform; and Sam Kass, executive director of Let’s Move! and former White House chef.
The format is inspired by Reddit’s popular “Ask Me Anything” question and answer sessions, which allow users to submit and vote on questions for people with unusual or exceptional life experiences. AMAs first gained broad national attention in 2012 when President Obama participated, attracting 5.6 million views. Other notable AMA participants include leaders and political figures like Al Gore, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Helen Clark.
“AMAs are popular for a reason: they offer users a chance to engage interesting people in direct, authentic, and delightfully unscripted conversation,” said Kasia Cieplak Mayr-von Baldegg, executive producer of Atlantic Video. “We hope Ask Washington Anything allows interviewees and users alike to go beyond stale talking points—to discuss the big-picture issues that matter most right now and take a behind-the-scenes look at how Washington really works.”
“Ask Washington Anything” is the latest original Atlantic video series to launch this year, joining the popular “Economics in Plain English,” hosted by senior editor Derek Thompson, “If Our Bodies Could Talk,” reported by senior editor James Hamblin; “Advice to a Younger Me”; “Creative Breakthroughs”; and “The User’s Guide to Energy,” narrated by senior editor Alexis Madrigal.
About The Atlantic
Since its founding in 1857 as a magazine about “the American Idea” that would be of “no party or clique,” The Atlantic has been at the forefront of brave thinking in journalism. One of the first magazines to launch on the Web in the early 1990s, The Atlantic has continued to help shape the national debate across print, digital, and event platforms. With the addition of its news- and opinion-tracking site, TheAtlanticWire.com, and TheAtlanticCities.com on global cities, The Atlantic is a multi-media forum on the most critical issues of our times—from politics, business, urban affairs, and the economy, to technology, arts, and culture. The Atlantic is the flagship property of Washington, D.C.–based publisher Atlantic Media Company.
Reddit was founded by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian in 2005, and is an online community where users submit, vote, and comment on which stories and discussions are important. The hottest stories rise to the top, while cooler stories sink. Anyone can create a community (called “subreddits”), which is independent and moderated by a team of volunteers. Reddit is open source, and community members are constantly tinkering and contributing features, bug fixes, and translations back to the site. In October 2013, Reddit received more than 4.9 billion page views and 85.9 million unique visitors. Reddit also helps host the world’s largest gift exchange as listed in the Guinness Book of World Records through redditgifts.com; it also features video and original programming through reddit.tv.