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GU Held Election Night Watch Party and Forum Yesterday

Election Watch Party  Prior to the reelection of President Barack Obama Tuesday night, associate professor Diana Owen said reporters covering the election were “mining the internet and social media for stories” as well as TV ads, increasing the "potential for a Super PAC or for a candidate organization ... or even an individual to set the agenda ...”

November 7, 2012 – Several Georgetown faculty members participated in an Election Night Watch Party and Forum last night sponsored by Electronic Media and Politics and gnovis, two online research journals associated with the university’s Communication, Culture and Technology (CCT) graduate program..

Diana Owen, CCT associate professor and director of American Studies at Georgetown, is also research director for Electronic Media and Politics.

Owen and Kimberly Meltzer, a CCT assistant professor and CCT student Lucas Regnér (G’15) presented “Stay on Message, Mr. President,” an exploration of how media has portrayed politics over the years and how politicians have adapted to new media.

Media, Policy and Debates

The professors also tackled questions such as “How does this new phase of political news change the actual coverage of politics? What are the implications for democracy?”

Meltzer also spoke on the “Best and Worst Practices in TV Coverage of Elections.”

Leticia Bode, another CCT assistant professor, talked about social media, and adjunct CCT professor Adel Iskandar discussed  “Performance: From Policy to Debate.”

Social Media vs. TV

The co-author with David Paletz and Timothy E. Cook of American Government and Politics in the Information Age (FlatWorld Knowledge, 2011), Owen has published extensively on media and politics.

“Even though there was a lot of hype in 2008 about the use of social media in the campaign, a very small proportionate of the electorate was actually actively tuned into social media,” Owen said in a recent interview.

She said Pew Research Center statistics show that television was actually more prominent in the 2012 presidential election.

Setting Agendas

Owen also noted that journalism organizations had “cut back radically” on the number of reporters actually trained as journalists to cover the election.

She said even the reporters at mainstream media organizations were “mining the internet and social media for stories” and looked at TV ads for material.

“So the potential for a Super PAC or for a candidate organization or some other outside organization or even an individual to set the agenda has really increased,” she said.


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