Reached by phone, News Genius Executive Editor Liz Fosslien said using someone else's article is somewhat unusual for News Genius, which prefers to annotate what she calls "primary source" documents, like Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech or U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein's speech accusing the CIA of intruding on congressional computers. (It has, though, reprinted a New York Times op-ed and part of a Rolling Stone article.)
The Newsweek article "was an interesting case where they wanted to use and expose what they thought was incorrect reporting," Fosslien said. The "they" in this equation is News Genius' community, who wield great power as they build influence within the site.
An editor on News Genius is usually an unpaid contributor "who has proven they're making intelligent, eloquent, readable annotations," Fosslien said. The next step up is moderator, and some lucky folks are given "verified accounts" -- "professors," Fosslien said, as well as experts like New York Times tech columnist Farhad Manjoo and Rap Genius investor Marc Andreessen.
In fact, Andreessen was quite involved in annotating the Newsweek article. "Is there anyone left on planet Earth who does not screen their phone calls? What is this, 1962?" Andreessen writes about one line in the Newsweek story. "Virtually everyone trained in any aspect of finance in the last 50 years has been taught to work in reverse Polish notation," he shoots back at another sentence. (more...)