HOW BIG A STORY IS THIS YEAR'S ELECTION?
The editors also responded to these questions:
Is Generation X as apathetic as its stereotype?
Are Republicans on campus afraid to identify themselves for fear of being abused?
Are young people espousing libertarian ideas?
Is the idea of civic service popular on today's college campuses?
A question from Sadie Posen of Jamesburg, NJ:
Has the campaign been the major story in your papers? If not, what has been?
Our panel of editors responds:
Our newspaper has focused on the 1996 campaign to some extent, but most of our coverage will occur within the next two weeks. It's a timing issue; we felt the coverage would be more effective closer to Election Day. Plus, we've been busy covering local campus policies and a recent day-long, campus-wide power outage. So far, we've written stories about the rise of the Libertarian Party on campus, the student government's voter registration drive, and an evening debate on Proposition 209, the California Civil Rights Initiative. Upcoming stories include an in-depth look at Prop. 209, Proposition 215 (legalizing marijuana for medicinal uses), and the movement to increase young voter participation. We will also hold a poll to determine student opinions on the presidential candidates, local races and propositions.
The election has definitely been the most frequently recurring focus of stories on our pages. We have been doing mostly event-based coverage of the presidential election -- when the candidates come to New Jersey (or cancel their visits), for instance, as well as the debates. We have been doing more in-depth looks at the Torricelli-Zimmer race for Bill Bradley's senate seat, as well as the House race for the 12th District, which includes Princeton.
We have tried to get a Princeton response for much of our election coverage, talking to the various public policy experts on campus to learn their reaction to the candidates, as well as White House press secretary Mike McCurry and Donald Rumsfeld, national chair of the Dole campaign, who are both Princeton alums.
The student-run newspaper at William and Mary, The Flat Hat, is a weekly paper that primarily focuses on campus and local events. But recently, politics has been coming to William and Mary making it impossible to ignore the elections.
A couple of weeks ago, the College hosted Senate competitors Republican Sen. John Warner and his Democratic opponent Mark Warner, as well as Republican Vice Presidential candidate Pat Choate.
When such individuals are on campus, the newspaper covers the events. Usually, however, we include national news in a special section of the paper called "Beyond the 'Burg" which deals with these types of issues.
News in The Flat Hat covers student achievements, school policies, student cheers and jeers, violations, crimes, entertainment and sports. We will cover as our lead stories whatever is the talk of the students that week or any big news that may happen. Recently, major stories have dealt with violations by a certain fraternity and student concerns regarding our food service supplier.
Our paper has made a major effort to cover the state and local races, including the insane proliferation of ballot innitiatives (twenty-six in all!) We've shied away from covering the Presidential Campaign, which receives plenty of national press anyway, and have concentrated on the less flashy, but, in many ways, more important local campaigns.
This election will decide a series of crucial issues for Portland as a city as well as for Oregon. Among them are proposals to expand the Oregon Health Plan to an additional 70,000 low income Oregonians through higher cigarrette taxes, a proposal to expand the Oregon Health Plan to cover naturopathic and chiropractic medicine and a property tax "cut-and-cap" innitiative with potentially devastating results for the public school system. Beyond this, we're picking 2 out of the 5 members of the City Council, a U.S. Representative and a U.S. Senator. The Quest has made a serious effort to help Reed Students sort through the often confusing maze of referenda, candidates and innitiatives.
The national elections make it an exciting time to work for a college newspaper. This week an appearance by First Lady Hillary Clinton brought a great deal of excitement to the newsroom, as our staff fought with area papers for the best stories and photos.
National politics on campus, however, has had to compete with several important local races, particularly a battle for one of Wisconsin's U.S. House seats. The race between a Republican incumbent, named Scott Klug and Paul Soglin a Democratic challenger and Madison's mayor, get more interesting each day. Soglin, a long-time political activist and politician, announced today, Friday, Oct. 11, his resignation from the city office.
Earlier this week, the campaign topic centered around whether to include in a campus debate a non-viable third-party candidate whose only issue was the legalization of marijuana. The third candidate has been allowed into the debate and remarkably appears to be the only one capable of defining his own issue.
The most interesting aspect of the race has been watching the Republican and Democratic candidates attempt to define the issues of the campaign. In this race, they are having as difficult a time as students in determining where the stand.
Questions asked in this forum:
- Do today's college students have the patience or the motivation to read about the candidates or the issues and to stay informed.?
- Are Republicans on campus afraid to identify themselves for fear of being abused?
- Are young people espousing libertarian ideas?
- Is the idea of civic service popular on today's college campuses?
- Has the campaign been the major story in college papers? If not, what has been?