Elon students play
roles in election '04


From the summer political conventions to the fall's debates to election-day coverage, Elon School of Communications students have been active in the illumination of information tied to the presidential election of 2004.

The staff at Elon's student newspaper, The Pendulum, began planning to cover the major election issues in the spring. Editor Jessica Patchett and her staff have produced special sections in every edition of the paper during fall semester. The paper's Opinion pages, edited by KeiSaundra Henderson, have carried competing columns written by students representing the two major political parties in the United States.

Over the summer, Elon University students were recruited to work in various facets of the Democratic and Republican conventions. One of them, School of Communications student Dan Hanson, had nearly free run on the floor of the Republican Convention in New York in his job with CNN.

Hanson enjoyed having close encounters with major figures in politics and the media as he served as an intern for CNN's guest-booking department for a week at the convention. He met and talked with Republican strategist Ralph Reed, Homeland Security Secretary Tommy Thompson, former Congressman Bob Barr (R-Ga.), Lt. Governor Michael Steele of Maryland and former New York mayor Rudy Guiliani. "I got first-hand knowledge of how a large cable news organization plans and executes its coverage of a major news event," Hanson said. "I also learned how standards and practices were applied to the coverage and the bookings of guests for interviews."

The staff at "Phoenix14 News" is carrying a live six-hour block of Nov. 2 election-night coverage, and staffers began working weeks in advance to prepare for this big news day. They are led by students Jennifer Sposato, Scott Myrick, David Douglas and a large group of other contributors. Faculty and staff at the School of Communications have been generous with time, equipment and expertise.

Students enrolled in Elon's Reporting course for the fall were assigned by a local daily newspaper, the Burlington Times-News, to write local-color pieces on election day in Alamance County. Their articles appeared on the Times-News Web site Nov. 3.

McEwen classrooms were opened to all Elon students for group viewings of the three major presidential debates between John Kerry and George W. Bush. The sessions were packed for each of the clashes.

Elon University hosted its own debate of the issues, inviting students to participate. The war on terrorism/national security, the economy and same-sex marriage were the topics addressed by teams representing the Democratic, Republican and Independent viewpoints on these issues. School of Communications student Laith Majali presented the viewpoint of an international student.

"A president's stance on and interpretation of foreign policy is what shapes how U.S. policy affects the rest of the world and how the rest of the world affects U.S. policy," he said. "...It is important to recognize that the world we live in today is an intertwined web of mechanisms by which human beings interact. The improvements in telecommunications and media have played a large part in connecting the interests of citizens of the world together. That means that if something affects the 250 million people who live in the U.S., it most definitely affects the remaining 6.25 billion people around the world on varying scales."

Elon students Jessica Gross and Elizabeth Nagy got an up close look at a major network's coverage of the 2004 election Nov. 2 in Washington, D.C. Gross and Nagy worked as production assistants for Hearst at ABC's Washington bureau. The day gave both students practical experience in their fields of study. Gross, a senior, is a communications major and public relations director for ESTV, and Nagy is a sophomore broadcast major who works with Phoenix14News.




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School of Communications 
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E-mail: communications@elon.edu
Last Modified:  11/03/04
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