'The Economist' launches a series of online debates

NEW YORK: The Economist has kicked off an online debate series to extend its brand to the social-media sphere.

NEW YORK: The Economist has kicked off an online debate series to extend its brand to the social-media sphere.

The first debate series, tackling education, launched last month. The second series is set for December. Debates can be accessed at www.economist.com/debate.

The title hopes a significant number of its 3 million Web site visitors will follow the debates and vote, said Ben Edwards, publisher of the Economist.com.

The Economist is working with SparkPR, which reached influential bloggers, like Buzz Machine and Mashable, high-profile guest participants, like Education Week, and related supporter groups, said Spark CEO Alan Soucy.

The communications goal is to promote The Economist's position on elevated conversation, reason, intelligence, and clarity with social media, Edwards said.

"My strong suspicion is we got a lot of people contributing who wouldn't have dreamed of going to a blog and commenting on it," he noted of the debates. "I felt there was a tremendous opportunity for social media at The Economist."

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