Left to right, Eric Ugland moderates the discussion with Ben Tracy, Bonnie Brennan, and Christopher Murray. Photo by Alex Rydin
The Diederich College of Communications and the Les Aspin Center for Government hosted a panel discussion on how mass media is covering the campaigns. This created the perfect opportunity to get out of the classroom and see what other journalists' opinions on the subject are.

The discussion focused primarily on the quality of news coverage in the "22 minutes" a network gets for evening news. Between feel-good human interest stories, sports and world events, there simply isn't enough time to keep the electorate properly informed, which I have argued before is the primary responsibility of fourth estate.
Dr. Brennan, a Nieman Professor of Journalism in the Diederich college, was correct when she made this statement. It is impossible to do your job as a journalist when you only have a few minutes. That is why everyone on the panel argued for a wider range of media consumption by the information consuming public. And with a wider range of media consumption comes the opportunity to cover issues that are less discussed on nightly television news.

Both Dr. Brennan and Ben Tracy, a 5 time Emmy winning CBS National News correspondent, agreed that superpac money has negatively influenced the electoral process. While this is something most people will agree on, its not something that seems to get a lot of media coverage. likely because it is a comparatively boring topic. The average media consumer doesn't want to read or watch or listen to a piece on the ethical and legal implications of allowing large groups of rich men donate exorbitant sums of money to political candidates. But this is something that needs o be covered more often.

Overall I did not like the event. I did not think they delved deep enough into the issues revolving around the media coverage of an election. Instead they briefly mentioned several topics that were on everyone's mind and moved on to questions. I don't mean to stick it to Mr. Ugland, the moderator, but he probably should have had the discussion moving in a more focused direction.

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