My brother wears a second hat at NiemanWatchdog.org, besides his Washington Post gig. Here's Nieman's request for tough debate questions
The Internet can make the presidential debates better. NiemanWatchdog.org will make it happen. Starting this week, NiemanWatchdog.org is soliciting tough, incisive questions that President Bush and Senator Kerry should be asked at the upcoming presidential debates.
The Niemanwatchdog.org Web site is a project of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. The site's primary mission is to encourage watchdog reporting by drawing on authorities in various fields to suggest questions the press should ask.
For its presidential debate project, NiemanWatchdog.org is accepting submissions from experts and amateurs alike. The editors of the site will also be scouring blogs and other Web sites, looking for questions being posed there.
“This is no time for softballs,” said NiemanWatchdog.org deputy editor Dan Froomkin. “We believe that the collective wisdom of the Internet community can generate some superbly pointed questions that will oblige the candidates to provide the kinds of answers the public deserves.”
Several days before each presidential debate, NiemanWatchdog.org will select what its editors think are the best questions for each candidate, and will announce the winners on the Web site — as well as in a press release to major media organizations.
Internet users are encouraged to post their questions, or questions they've seen elsewhere on the Web, directly onto the NiemanWatchdog.org Web site, at http://www.niemanwatchdog.org. They can also e-mail them to email@example.com, along with their names, hometown, and affiliation if relevant.
Pity there's no way to have people vote on questions and then make the moderators ask the most popular ones. (Yes, yes, we'd have to prevent people voting more than once, and yes, yes, that's a complex problem.)