MSNBC, HotSoup Unveil Forum

NEW YORK With just a week to go before Election Day 2006, MSNBC.com has partnered with fledgling online community HotSoup.com to create a forum for users to dissect and debate political issues and election races.

Through the new partnership each day at politics.msnbc.com, HotSoup editors will post a new “Hot Loop” discussion board where users can interact with other members on various topics. In addition, HotSoup editor-in-chief Ron Fournier, a former top political writer at the Associated Press, will pen a weekly column for the site.

“Those who visit MSNBC.com’s political coverage featuring HotSoup will get a powerful combination of smart, coherent conversation and up-to-date news and information,” said Russ Shaw, MSNBC.com’s deputy news editor.

The new partnership also extends to TV. HotSoup’s roster of big-name political co-founders, including former Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd and former Clinton administration press secretary Joe Lockhart, will make appearances on Hardball and other MSNBC network shows.

Both the Web and TV partnerships are scheduled to continue beyond the completion of MSNBC’s election coverage, according to officials.

HotSoup, which went live on Oct. 19, is designed as a MySpace for political junkies. Besides backers like Dowd and Lockhart, the site has lined up major political players to contribute content in coming weeks. Contributors will include former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Senators Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama.