Project results from collaboration with BBH New York
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Paul G. Kirk, Jr. and Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., co-chairmen of the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) today announced an Internet educational partnership with MySpace for the 2008 general election debates. The project is the result of a ten-month collaboration between the CPD and BBH New York, an advertising and media agency working with the CPD as new media advisor and conceptual partner. A new website, MyDebates.org, will be created to enhance the educational value of the televised debates, engage new audiences, and facilitate ongoing online conversation throughout the general election period.
Kirk and Fahrenkopf said that "The CPD believes that the Internet can be used to personalize the debates in a way that allows for in-depth examination by individual citizens and joint discussion with others. MySpace shares our commitment to join technology with candidate forums in a manner that provides useful resources in a clear and open form. MyDebates.org will offer innovative tools and materials for users to make scorecards of issues important to them and to track these issues throughout the debates, using videotapes and transcripts in both real time and archival fashion. Citizens can submit questions to MyDebates.org for possible inclusion in the town meeting debate, and offer feedback on the new debate formats that will explore a smaller number of topics for longer periods of time."
The project was designed after BBH and the CPD conducted a thorough review of initiatives to date to determine the most effective way for new media to intersect with the presidential debates.
Kirk and Fahrenkopf also noted that MySpace brings an international perspective to this project; the CPD and MySpace will work to ensure the broadest possible participation in MyDebates.org, both in the United States and abroad. The CPD has traditionally worked with a broad range of civic groups to expand the reach of the debates. MyDebates.org will offer those groups unprecedented access and flexibility in following these historic events.
MyDebates.org will feature video streaming, on-demand playback, and archival material. The website will be operational in early September so users can register during the period before the first presidential debate on Friday, September 26. Subsequent debates will take place on October 2 (vice presidential debate), October 7 (town meeting), and October 15 (third presidential debate).