Presidential debate offers learning ground for students of urban affairs

In a few days, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas will be at the epicenter of one of the most anticipated debates of the 2016 election year. The final presidential debate, to be held October 19 at the Thomas & Mack Center, has been a rich source of learning, especially for students at Greenspun College of Urban Affairs.

Live from the media library

Gary Larson’s DAY 490 Broadcast Journalism students: Special Subjects, Debate and Election Coverage will report live from the Presidential Debate Media Center, in conjunction with major international news networks, for the student news program Studio G. Studio G is produced by Larson, an associate professor of journalism, and students from the Television Studios located at Greenspun College of Urban Affairs. Broadcast journalism students, faculty and staff will provide approximately 10 hours of live coverage during the week of the final presidential debate, including five hours on the day of the debate. The stories will also be reported in Spanish and will air during Studio G programming and on debate day.

A student social media team will be dedicated to sharing coverage and engaging viewers. The media team includes Larson, Jennifer Ream, Acting Director of UNLV-TV; Dan Grimes, UNLV-TV engineer; and students Megan Eisenhauer, Briona Haney, Idania Ramirez and Jennifer Hurtado.


Frank Mueller, professor of radio journalism and general manager of KUNV 91.5 FM radio, supervises 11 journalism students who cover various topics related to the presidential debate for KUNV radio. Two students, Audrey Crawford and Lauren Anderson, will report live from the presidential debate media center on the day of the debate.

The presidential debate also inspired UNLV’s first podcast. Mueller students worked with Katy Griffin, social media strategist for UNLV’s Office of Academic Communications, to create the UNLV: diverse, bold and different this fall to highlight the recent transformations of the UNLV. It is facilitated by four students with contributions from a dozen others. Follow on iTunes, Google Play or your favorite podcast subscription service.

Reporting and storytelling

Of the roughly 60 journalism students involved in covering the debate, about 30 are in broadcast classes and the other half reside in Gregory Borchard’s JOUR 310 Advanced Reporting class.

“The advanced reporting class will take advantage of the tremendous opportunity we have to gain journalistic experience through coverage of the final presidential debate,” said Borchard, a journalism professor. “In addition to examining the content, style and mechanics of sound storytelling, students have already begun following campaigns in general and campus events in particular to provide a range of content on issues important to the world. beyond the UNLV campus alone.”

Engage in issues

Faculty, students and alumni of the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs have been participating in presidential debate activities since the beginning of the year. The College of Urban Affairs, UNLV Libraries, and the UNLV Presidential Debate Campus Engagement Committee presented the UNLV Presidential Debate Lecture Series featuring five prominent American scholars who study , teach, research and publish on various topics related to presidential debates. Scholars have also served as guest lecturers, interacting with undergraduate and graduate students in communication studies courses covering the history and criticism of televised presidential debates. Topics covered politeness in debates, using social media to view the event, why candidates are nervous about participating, and a look back at the debates between President Barrack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.

The lectures were recorded by UNLV Television and are available on the UNLV Libraries Digital Scholarship institutional repository and on the website Urban Affairs’ Youtube.

Other college activities included:

  • UNLV’s award-winning debate team hosted two premier presidential debate watch events and panel discussions for students, faculty, staff, and the Southern Nevada community. The Democratic Primary Debate Monitor event was held on February 11 and the Republican Primary Debate Monitor event was held on March 10, with a panel of UNLV and community experts providing post analysis. -debate at each event.
  • Several students from each of Greenspun’s urban affairs university programs have been invited to attend MSNBC’s live town hall discussion with the Democratic candidates on February 18. Tianna Winters, now a graduate of the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism & Media Studies, was selected to ask former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a question directly.
  • The students also worked for MSNBC in the production of the Town Hall Forum and behind the scenes coverage of the Nevada Caucuses Network.
  • Jacob Thompson, director of the UNLV debate team, delivered the opening speech why presidential debates are essential to the democratic process on UNLV’s welcome day for new students on August 26.
  • The UNLV Debate Team hosted a watch event on September 26 for Clark County School District Debate Team students and their coaches. Nearly 250 people attended the event. Michael Eisenstadt, a former communications student and former assistant coach for the UNLV debate team, will return to campus as a panelist for the second presidential debate watch event on October 9.

Follow: Watch live coverage of journalism students on KUNV TVFollow on Twitter @UNLVTVor tune in Radio KUNV. And join the conversation using the hashtags: #UNLVPresDebate and #UNLVegasdebate2016.

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