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Iowans to Tell the Media How to Improve Campaign Coverage

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CONTACT: Janet Keefer, 515-707-6072, janet.keefer@drake.edu;

Lisa Lacher, 515-271-3119, lisa.lacher@drake.edu

Iowans interested in the 2008 presidential election soon will have the opportunity to tell the news media how to improve campaign coverage at a free event arranged by Drake University, Iowa Public Television, The Des Moines Register, the Poynter Institute and the McCormick Tribune Foundation.


The “Politics and the Press: A Community Conversation” will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 4, at the IPTV studios at 6450 Corporate Drive, Johnston. Studio doors will open at 6 p.m. At the event, about 20 journalists from around the country will receive advice about campaign coverage from a panel of experts and from the studio audience. IPTV will broadcast an hour-long program based on the community conversation at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 28, on both its analog and digital channels.

Carolyn Washburn, editor and vice president of The Des Moines Register, will introduce the conversation and the panelists. The panel will consist of:

  • Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who briefly was a candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination
  • Matthew Dowd, formerly a leading Bush-Cheney political strategist
  • Ann Selzer, a Des Moines-based pollster
  • Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Washington-based Project for Excellence in Journalism

People in the audience will be asked to tell the attending journalists what kind of campaign coverage they need to help them make decisions at the polls.

“Candidates for president are already thicker on the ground than this year’s corn crop and news coverage is increasing accordingly,” said Janet Keefer, Drake associate professor of journalism. “There’s an abundance of ‘Here is Iowa’ stories about presidential candidates visiting cornfields and coffee shops. If you’re tired of these usual kinds of coverage, then here’s your chance to make a difference by joining us for the ‘Tell It To The Media’ community conversation.”

Although the community conversation is free and open to the public, reservations are necessary. For reservations, call 515-271-3194 or send an e-mail message to reportingseminar@drake.edu.

The journalists at the event will be in Iowa for a program of workshops and seminars June 5-6 at Drake University. That program, designed to help improve news coverage of the presidential campaign, will be presented by Drake University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Poynter Institute. The McCormick Tribune Foundation is sponsoring the program with additional support from the Des Moines Register and Iowa Public Television.