NEW YORK -- Jim Lehrer will likely kick off Wednesday night's presidential debate, the 12th he's moderated since 1988, in a familiar manner: "Good evening from the Magness Arena at the University of Denver." In Lehrer's debate memoir, "Tension City," the PBS veteran describes how the moderator's opening, complete with "good evening," hasn't changed since the first televised debate in 1960.

There have been a few innovations since then, such as adding a town hall-style debate to the mix and opting for a sole moderator instead of a panel of journalists. But the significant changes in news production, consumption and engagement since Nixon and Kennedy squared off 52 two years ago haven't shaken up the debate format, and the Committee on Presidential Debates' selection of moderators has drawn scrutiny for not reflecting today's more diverse media industry.

And in this year's "Twitter Election" -- where reporters have covered every campaign trail event (and non-event) in real-time and the increased velocity of the news cycle renders journalistic rituals like the post-debate "spin room" largely irrelevant -- social media hasn't appeared to be a factor in debate preparation.

NYU professor Jay Rosen, who was critical of the 839 questions asked during the spring Republican primary debates, recently asked on Twitter if "any of the debate moderators [have] been engaging with voters online to crowd source us some really good questions."

The answer, for the most part, is no.

Lehrer has not used social media to crowd source questions before Wednesday's debate, but during a recent radio appearance he said he would welcome suggestions, according to a PBS spokeswoman. The spokeswoman added that the network "collected many questions, emails, calls, petitions, etc., separated them by topic and delivered them to Mr. Lehrer on a somewhat rolling basis."

Lehrer declined The Huffington Post's interview request, along with Politico's, but recently spoke to The New York Times and Washington Post. In the pages of the Times, the 78-year-old Lehrer emphasized that he has his system of preparation down cold by now. “If I’m not physically doing it, it’s in my head,” Lehrer said.

Given the intense scrutiny that moderators are under -- as in past cycles -- ABC News senior foreign affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz told the Times that she would mostly avoid Twitter before moderating the Oct. 11 vice presidential debate.

A couple of weeks ago, Raddatz took one stab at soliciting questions on Twitter, with her ABC News colleague Jake Tapper retweeting the request to his 200,000-plus followers. But Raddatz, in an email to HuffPost, said that "quite honestly, there was not a lot of response." Still, Raddatz said she read the responses she received and remains "open to all suggestions."

CNN's Candy Crowley, moderator for the second presidential debate on Oct. 16, solicited questions via Twitter before hosting a Virginia gubernatorial debate in July, but hasn't yet put out a similar request for the Obama-Romney matchup.

“I’m monitoring Twitter and may ask there after the VP debate, before Oct. 16," Crowley said in an email to HuffPost. "But honestly, I haven’t needed to solicit questions -- I’m inundated via plain old email.”

Social media aside, Crowley's debate is a town-hall format and so it will include questions from voters, along with follow-ups from the moderator.

Bob Schieffer, long-time host of CBS' "Face the Nation" and moderator for the final presidential debate on Oct. 22, is sticking with his decidedly old-school method of preparation.

"I'm still the guy who reads the newspaper and clips things out with scissors and still takes notes with a pencil or with a pen," Schieffer said in an interview with Huffpost. During preparation, he keeps relevant articles -- on topics like Iran's nuclear ambitions or the Israeli-Palestinian dispute -- in a three-ring binder.

Schieffer, who moderated his first presidential debate in 2004 and will handle this cycle's foreign policy-focused one, said he's getting advice from experts, think tank residents, and members of Congress. So far, Schieffer said he has spoken to around 15 people, meeting with each for about an hour and a half.

While Schieffer solicited questions from students during a talk at Harvard's Kennedy School earlier this week, he won't be targeting the younger voting demographic on Twitter or Facebook. "I'm not big on social media and that kind of stuff," he said.

The format may have changed little since the mid-20th century, but Schieffer is quick to say that the debates still provide a valuable service, especially now that "politics has become so toxic" and partisan television news programs often serve to validate views people already hold.

"This may be the only time when you'll get large numbers of people in the other party forced to listen to what the guy on the other side has to say," Schieffer said. "That just doesn't happen any more in American politics."

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  • Kennedy vs Nixon '60

    From ABC News, portion of first presidential debate September 26, 1960.

  • Carter-Ford Oct. 6, 1976 Debate - "No Soviet Domination"

    In this clip from the Oct. 6, 1976 debate between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, Ford botches a rehearsed line from his briefing book and declares, "There is no no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe." At the time, all countries in Eastern Europe had Communist governments and were under the Soviet sphere of influence. You can watch the entire debate and read a transcript at millercenter.org

  • Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney

    FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2012 file photo Republican presidential candidates former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum counters former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, during the South Carolina Republican presidential debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Remember Newt Gingrich calling Romney a liar? Michele Bachmann saying Romney's unelectable? Santorum calling Romney "the worst Republican in the country" to run against Obama? They're hoping you don't. And acting like it never happened _ even though most of their words are just clicks away online. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

  • George W. Bush, John Kerry

    FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2004 file photo, President George W. Bush and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., wave as they enter the stage before the third and final presidential debate in Tempe, Ariz. President Barack Obama's "we can't wait" refrain is all about projecting a sense of urgency and bold action heading into his fourth year in office. It turns out recent presidents haven't had much luck with that. The fourth year is often a disappointment, particularly when a president facing re-election is trying coax action out of a Congress in the hands of the other party. The heady optimism of earlier years gets bogged down in partisan bickering, and big initiatives give way to less ambitious steps. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

  • Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford

    FILE - In this Sept. 23, 1976, file photo President Gerald Ford speaks during the first of three televised presidential debates with Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter at Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theater. During one of those debates Ford didn't dominate when he declared in a 1976 debate that Poland was not under the domination of the Soviet Union, which at the time it was. Time magazine called it "the blooper heard round the world." Ford's rival said the president had "disgraced our country." (AP Photo/File)

  • GOP Debate

    Preparations continue on a stage at the Mesa Arts Center for Wednesday nights GOP presidential debate hosted by CNN and the Republican Party of Arizona on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012,. (AP Photo/East Valley Tribune, Tim Hacker ) MANDATORY CREDIT, ARIZONA REPUBLIC OUT

  • Rick Perry

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry, talks to the media in support of Newt Gingrich after a Republican presidential debate Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012, in Mesa, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton

    FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2008 file photo, then-Democratic presidential hopefuls Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., left, and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., stand together before the start of a Democratic presidential debate in Cleveland. With no end in sight, the Republican presidential nomination fight may end up mirroring the epic 2008 battle between Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton that stretched into June. But Length may be the only true parallel to draw between the two races. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)

  • Mitt Romney, Rick Perry

    FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2011, file photo Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, right, spar during a Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas. Perry, still nursing wounds from his failed presidential campaign, did himself a world of good with his self-deprecating jokes at a dinner in Washington in March. First, he joked that his time as the GOP front-runner had been "the three most exhilarating hours of my life." Then he perfectly skewered Romney by quipping that during the GOP debates, he'd been tempted to turn to his rival and ask, "Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?" (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

  • Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich

    FILE - I this Feb. 22, 2012 file photo, Republican presidential candidates, from left, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich share the stage during a Republican presidential debate in Mesa, Ariz. If he can manage it, now is the time for Mitt Romney to mend his Republican fences and bring around those dubious voters who kept spurning him for Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and others on the right. After a nasty Republican primary battle, he's got to somehow fire up the party's staunchest conservatives without alienating independent voters he'll need to defeat President Barack Obama in the fall. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

  • George W. Bush, Al Gore

    FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2000 file photo, Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, left, speaks as Democratic presidential candidate Vice President Al Gore watches during their third and final debate at Washington University in St. Louis. Finally, the fall season delivers the matchup Americans have been waiting for, President Barack Obama goes one-on-one with Republican Mitt Romney in three prime-time debates. With the race a dead heat, the debates take on an oversized role in the few weeks between now and Election Day. One small mistake or impression _ a glance at a watch, repetitive sighing _ could roil the campaign for days and linger in voters’ mind. This is especially true for two polished candidates who will have the soundbites and rhetoric down cool. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke, File)

  • George H.W. Buas, Ross Perot, Bill Clinton

    FILE - In this Oct. 15, 1992 file photo, President Bush, left, talks with independent candidate Ross Perot as Democratic candidate Bill Clinton stands aside at the end of their second presidential debate in Richmond, Va. Finally, the fall season delivers the matchup Americans have been waiting for, President Barack Obama goes one-on-one with Republican Mitt Romney in three prime-time debates. With the race a dead heat, the debates take on an oversized role in the few weeks between now and Election Day. One small mistake or impression _ a glance at a watch, repetitive sighing _ could roil the campaign for days and linger in voters’ mind. This is especially true for two polished candidates who will have the soundbites and rhetoric down cool. (AP Photo/Marcy Nighswander, File)

  • Bob Schieffer; Barack Obama; John McCain

    FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2008 file photo, then-Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, and Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., right, exchange responses as debate moderator Bob Schieffer listens during a presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. Finally, the fall season delivers the matchup Americans have been waiting for, President Barack Obama goes one-on-one with Republican Mitt Romney in three prime-time debates. With the race a dead heat, the debates take on an oversized role in the few weeks between now and Election Day. One small mistake or impression _ a glance at a watch, repetitive sighing _ could roil the campaign for days and linger in voters’ mind. This is especially true for two polished candidates who will have the soundbites and rhetoric down cool. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds, File)

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Edwards, Barack Obama

    FILE - In this Jan. 21, 2008 file photo, Democratic presidential hopefuls, from left, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, participate in a Democratic presidential debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Finally, the fall season delivers the matchup Americans have been waiting for, President Barack Obama goes one-on-one with Republican Mitt Romney in three prime-time debates. With the race a dead heat, the debates take on an oversized role in the few weeks between now and Election Day. One small mistake or impression _ a glance at a watch, repetitive sighing _ could roil the campaign for days and linger in voters’ mind. This is especially true for two polished candidates who will have the soundbites and rhetoric down cool. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain, File)

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama

    FILE - In this April 16, 2008 file photo, Democratic presidential hopefuls, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., return from a commercial break during their debate at the National Constitution Center, in Philadelphia. In presidential politics, everybody's searching for "the moment." The campaigns don't know when or how it will come, but they watch for something _ awkward words or an embarrassing image _ that can break through and become the defining symbol of the other guy's flaws. Now all eyes are on the series of three presidential debates that starts Wednesday. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

  • Richard M. Nixon

    FILE - This Sept. 26, 1960 black-and-white file photo shows Republican presidential candidate Vice President Richard M. Nixon wipes his face with a handkerchief during the nationally televised with Democratic nominee Sen. John F. Kennedy, in Chicago, Ill., Sept. 26, 1960. In presidential politics, everybody's searching for "the moment." The campaigns don't know when or how it will come, but they watch for something _ awkward words or an embarrassing image _ that can break through and become the defining symbol of the other guy's flaws. Now all eyes are on the series of three presidential debates that starts Wednesday. (AP Photo, File)

  • Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan

    FILE - This Oct. 28, 1980 black-and-white file photo shows President Jimmy Carter, left, and Republican Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan shake hands after debating in the Cleveland Music Hall in Cleveland. In presidential politics, everybody's searching for "the moment." The campaigns don't know when or how it will come, but they watch for something _ awkward words or an embarrassing image _ that can break through and become the defining symbol of the other guy's flaws. Now all eyes are on the series of three presidential debates that starts Wednesday. (AP Photo/Madeline Drexler, File)

  • George W. Bush, Al Gore

    FILE - In this Oct. 11, 2000 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate, Vice President Al Gore, right, and Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. George W. Bush wait for the start of a debate, at Wait Chapel at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. In presidential politics, everybody's searching for "the moment." The campaigns don't know when or how it will come, but they watch for something _ awkward words or an embarrassing image _ that can break through and become the defining symbol of the other guy's flaws. Now all eyes are on the series of three presidential debates that starts Wednesday. (AP Photo/David Phillip)

  • Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Fred Thompson, John McCain

    FILE - In this Jan. 5, 2008, file photo Republican presidential hopeful, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, is greeted by Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., respectively second and third from left, while on stage with other Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls during a break in the debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. When they stand side by side on the presidential debate stage Wednesday night, Oct. 3, 2012, it will be one of the few times Obama and Romney have ever even met in person. Others from left are former New York City Mayor Giuliani, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Republican presidential hopeful, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Republican presidential hopeful, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.,former Sen. Fred Thompson, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.(AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

  • Rudy Giuliani, Barack Obama, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, John Edwards, John McCain, Hillary Clinton

    FILE - In this Jan. 5, 2008, file photo Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., second from left, talks with Republican presidential hopeful, former Massachussetts Gov. Mitt Romney, hidden fourth from left, on stage with other Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls during a break in the debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. When they stand side by side on the presidential debate stage Wednesday night, Oct. 3, 2012, it will be one of the few times Obama and Romney have ever even met in person. Others from left are former New York City Mayor Giuliani, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

  • George H.W. Bush, Ross Perot

    FILE - In this Oct. 15, 1992, file photo President George H.W. Bush looks at his watch during the 1992 presidential campaign debate with other candidates, Independent Ross Perot, top, and Democrat Bill Clinton, not shown, at the University of Richmond, Va. They spend hours mastering policy. Learning to lean on the podium just so. Perfecting the best way to label their opponents as liars without whining. But presidential candidates and their running mates often find that campaign debates turn on unplanned zingers, gaffes or gestures that speak volumes. Debate wins and losses often are scored based on the overall impressions that candidates leave with voters. In the history books, though, small debate moments often end up telling the broader story. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds, File)

  • FILE - In this Oct. 22, 1984, file photo, President Ronald Reagan, left, and his Democratic challenger Walter Mondale, shake hands prior to their televised presidential debate, in Kansas City, Mo. When Reagan won the White House in 1980, he was 69 _ the oldest man ever elected to the office. During his successful 1984 re-election campaign, he faced questions about his age in his head-to-head contest with 56-year-old Walter Mondale, the former vice president. They spend hours mastering policy. Learning to lean on the podium just so. Perfecting the best way to label their opponents as liars without whining. But presidential candidates and their running mates often find that campaign debates turn on unplanned zingers, gaffes or gestures that speak volumes. Debate wins and losses often are scored based on the overall impressions that candidates leave with voters. In the history books, though, small debate moments often end up telling the broader story. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds, File)

  • Dan Quayle, Lloyd Bentsen

    FILE - In this Oct. 5, 1988, file photo, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, D-Texas, left, shakes hands with Sen. Dan Quayle, R-Ind., before the start of their vice presidential debate at the Omaha Civic Auditorium, Omaha, Neb. They spend hours mastering policy. Learning to lean on the podium just so. Perfecting the best way to label their opponents as liars without whining. But presidential candidates and their running mates often find that campaign debates turn on unplanned zingers, gaffes or gestures that speak volumes. Debate wins and losses often are scored based on the overall impressions that candidates leave with voters. In the history books, though, small debate moments often end up telling the broader story. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

  • Barack Obama

    FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2012 file photo, President Barack Obama waves to supporters as he arrives at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. President Barack Obama has one mission heading into his first debate with Republican Mitt Romney: Don't screw things up. Less than five weeks from Election Day, Obama has political momentum and an edge in polls of the battleground states that will determine the election. But he's expected to face a blistering challenge from Romney, who needs to use Wednesday's debate in Denver to change the trajectory of the race. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken, File)

  • Mitt Romney

    FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2012 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrives at his campaign headquarters in Boston, to prepare for the presidential debates. If Republican Mitt Romney doesn't perform well at the presidential debate on Wednesday, it's not for lack of trying. On one out of every four days this September, the Republican presidential nominee held preparation sessions for the first of his three debates with Democratic President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • George Bush v Bill Clinton 1992 Debate Short

  • 1984 1st PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: REAGAN VS MONDALE (FULL)

    twitter.com (CSPAN HISTORICAL ARCHIVE) The full-length 1st 1984 Presidential Candidate Debate between President Reagan and Walter Mondale on 10/07/84. In Center Of The Performing Arts, Louisville Kentucky For more information on the ongoing works of President Reagan's Foundation, visit us at www.reaganfoundation.org

  • Barack Obama, Mitt Romney

    FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2012 file photo, President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney exchange views during the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. They interrupt each other, bicker and ignore the moderator. Romney poses his own questions and demands answers. “That’s not true,” Obama huffs over and over. This is presidential conduct? It was squirm-inducing for some viewers. But the candidates have little to lose by cranking up the heat in a tight face, where the focus is on persuading the undecided and firing up their fans. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

  • Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney passes President Barack Obama during the second presidential debate at Hofstra University, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Xavier Marrufo, right, and friends, all supporters of President Barack Obama watch a televised debate between Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and President Barack Obama, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Miramar, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

  • MItt Romney, Barack Obama, Ann Romney

    President Barack Obama is seen at left as Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney walks with his wife Ann at the end of the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • A man takes a photo of himself with President Barack Obama after the second presidential debate at Hofstra University, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • A debate booklet is held up after the second presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at Hofstra University, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • President Barack Obama, left, listens to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney during the second presidential debate at Hofstra University, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds)

  • Barack Obama, Mitt Romney

    President Barack Obama embraces first lady Michelle Obama on stage after the second presidential debate, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Students stand near a display on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2012, site of the Presidential debate. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will hold their second debate Tuesday. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • A student holds a sign protesting campaign spending on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, site of the Presidential debate. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will hold their second debate Tuesday. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)



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