U.S. Presidential Election Reporting Seminar for Journalists

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NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS

The U.S. Presidential Election Reporting Seminar is a 12-day professional study and reporting tour designed for working print, broadcast and online journalists. This special seminar enables participating journalists to report before, during and after the U.S. presidential election from key states in the American electoral system. Coordinated meetings and visits will provide journalists with an extensive knowledge and understanding of the U.S. election process, policy issues, and American voter attitudes, thereby enhancing a journalist’s coverage of the U.S. presidential elections to audiences back home. The program maximizes East-West Center’s experience in designing media programs and unique access to important organizations and constituencies. Benefits to journalists are:

  • Enhanced knowledge regarding the presidential election in the United States gained through discussions with government and political party officials, business leaders, academics, journalists, community activists and voters from a range of diverse constituencies. Emphasis will be placed on:
    • U.S. electoral process including the complex electoral college and primary system;
    • evolution of the two major political parties and their bases of voter support;
    • policy issues such as the domestic economy, globalization and international trade, foreign engagement, immigration, growing economic inequality, social change, and racial and religious identity;
    • impact of the election on the above policy issues as well as on foreign policy priorities with those countries represented by the participating journalists.
  • Access to key constituencies, the election process and U.S. political parties, via observance of the vote counting process, political campaigning practices and attendance at election night result parties at local Republican and Democratic headquarters.
  • Informed understanding of the American public through interactive dialogue with local communities via panel discussions, student forums, and host family dinners.
  • Development of reliable professional and personal information networks upon which participants can draw throughout their career.

For more information on East-West Center journalism fellowships and exchanges, see http://www.eastwestcenter.org/journalismfellowships

2016 U.S. Presidential Election Reporting Seminar

Dates:  November 1 – 13, 2016

Who Can Apply:  Mid-career journalists with at least five years or more of experience. Media professionals from print, broadcast and online news organizations, including reporters, writers, editors, producers, columnists, editorial writers, and bloggers are eligible to apply. Fluency in English is required.

Application Deadline:  Rolling until August 9, 2016 or TWELVE journalists are selected 

On Tuesday, November 8th, Americans will go to the polls to elect a new President and Vice-President, 33 Senators, 435 House Representatives, 12 Governors and a host of other local offices. The 2016 U.S. presidential election, in particular, will likely be both historic as well as consequential to the American political party and electoral system in ways not seen since 1964. Both nominated presidential candidates would represent a first-something president. Hillary Clinton would be the first female president and Donald J. Trump would be the first president with no political or military experience. The U.S. presidential election is also likely to draw record voter turnout as growing discontent with the “establishment” mobilizes young voters and those typically unengaged. Trump’s nomination also marks only the third time in U.S. history that an outsider has succeeded in the hostile takeover of a political party. The two previous successful hostile takeovers were mounted by former U. S. Congressman William Jennings Bryan (D) in 1896 and by U. S. Senator Barry Goldwater (R) in 1964. The immediate impact of those two takeovers was massive defeat for their party, but, more importantly, each had long-term consequences for the American political party and electoral system.
 
The East-West Center’s 2016 U.S. Presidential Election Reporting Seminar for working journalists will examine the institutions and social forces that have led to this historic and critical moment in the American political system. In addition, the two swing state cities will provide the journalists with an opportunity to explore key election issues such as the domestic economy, globalization and international trade, foreign engagement, immigration, growing economic inequality, social change, and racial and religious identity. The journalists will also have multiple opportunities to observe the 2016 presidential election taking place via election rallies and grassroots campaigning. The November 8th Election Day program will include an in-depth look at the vote counting process, observing U.S. voters cast their ballots at a polling station and watching the election night results with U.S. voters and party activists at the election night parties of the State Republican Party and the State Democratic Party. Following the election, journalists will travel to Washington, DC to meet with government officials, analysts and other journalists to discuss the impact of the 2016 election on international trade agreements and political security relations between the U.S. and those countries represented by the participating journalists. The Washington, DC program will also analyze the long-term impact of the 2016 presidential election on the American political party and electoral system. Finally, the journalists will engage in a facilitated debriefing session on their last day together in Washington, DC to review their study tour experiences as well as the role of social and traditional media in covering the 2016 election.

The Asia Matters for America initiative of the East-West Center has also launched a new online resource, Asia Reacts, which tracks Asia’s reactions to important developments in U.S.–Asia relations during and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election. This new resource monitors responses of Asian governments, media, and experts and can be accessed at http://www.asiamattersforamerica.org/asia-reacts.

Study Tour Destinations:  Charlotte, North Carolina; Cleveland, Ohio; Washington, DC.

About the seminar’s possible destinations:

Out of 538 total electoral votes, only 270 are needed to win. Of those 538 votes, swings states–also called purple states or battleground states–hold 85 electoral votes and represent where the U.S. presidential election is fought and decided.

North Carolina:  North Carolina's party loyalties have undergone a series of important shifts in the last few years. In the 1990s, Democrat Bill Clinton came within a point of winning the state in 1992 and also only narrowly lost the state in 1996. In the early 2000s, Republican George W. Bush easily won the state by over 12 points, but by 2008, demographic shifts, population growth, and increased liberalization in heavily populated areas, such as Charlotte, propelled Barack Obama to victory in North Carolina. In 2012, North Carolina was again considered a competitive swing state, but Republican Mitt Romney ultimately won the state’s electoral votes by a 2% margin, the only 2012 swing state that Obama lost, and one of only two states to flip from Democratic in 2008 to the Republican in 2012.

Ohio:  Ohio has also been a battleground in recent elections due to tight voting margins, its wealth of 20 electoral votes and its long history as a bellwether state. In 2012, incumbent Barack Obama defeated challenger Mitt Romney by a 3% margin of victory down slightly from his 4.8% margin of victory over John McCain in 2008. In 2004, however, Ohio put George W. Bush over the top in a close 2.0% margin of victory. Since 1944, Ohioans have sided with the losing candidate only once.

Funding:  Journalists are expected to cover seminar costs at a rate of USD$5.675.00/per person due prior to the beginning of the seminar. Due to overwhelming demand, the East-West Center does not offer scholarships towards the seminar fee, which covers the following programmatic costs:
  • Domestic U.S. airfare from Charlotte to Cleveland to Washington, DC
  • Ground transportation and airport transfers
  • Hotel accommodation in each city
  • Provided program meals, including two lunches and one dinner per city and a farewell luncheon
  • Pro-rated speaker honorarium and cooperating organization costs
  • Seminar DVD of program documents, speaker PowerPoint presentations and seminar photos
  • Participant Resource Binder, including:
    • Research materials
    • Participant biographies
    • Agenda
    • Speaker biographies
    • Maps and information for each city
  • An experienced program coordinator and political scientist actively engaged in the U.S. political process will accompany the group as a resource person.
Journalists are also responsible for their flights to and from their home cities to the United States as well as all meals not provided by the East-West Center, visa fees, health insurance and baggage fees.

How to Apply:

All applicants must complete an application form. You may download PDF or MS Word versions here (please save the file to your computer first before filling out the form). In addition to the completed application form, applicants must also provide the following:

  • Letter of Interest (maximum two pages) including:
    • A brief paragraph on your news organization and its reach
    • Interest in seminar theme and its relevancy to the beat you cover
    • What you expect both to contribute and to gain from participating in the seminar
    • Possible story ideas and how you intend to disseminate those stories
  • Resume (maximum two pages)
  • Two professional letters of recommendation, including one from your immediate supervisor describing your suitability for the program and how the news organization hopes to benefit from your participation. Recommendation letters should be signed and on letterhead.
 
Late applications will not be accepted.

Please send applications by Tuessday, August 9, 2016 via email, fax or post to:

Email: seminars@eastwestcenter.org
Fax: (808) 944-7600

U.S. Presidential Election Reporting Seminar
East-West Center, Seminars
1601 East West Road
Honolulu, HI  96848-1601  USA

Inquiries: 808-944-7368

PLEASE NOTE, for fax and e-mail submissions: Indicate “US Pres Application” in the subject heading. We will confirm receipt of the application within 5 working days. If you do not hear back from us, please follow up.

2012 U.S. Presidential Election Reporting Seminar

The 2012 US Presidential Election Reporting Seminar, held October 30 – November 11, 2012, took seven Asia Pacific journalists to Tampa, Florida; Cleveland, Ohio; and Washington, DC to observe and report before, during and after the US presidential election from key states in the American electoral system. The 2012 US Presidential Election Reporting Seminar highlighted core structural elements of US elections, specific policy issues dominating the 2012 presidential campaigns and American voter attitudes. The East-West Center's 2012 US Presidential Election Reporting Seminar also included a number of rare opportunities to attend candidate rallies and observe the US political process in action.

Dates:  October 30 – November 11, 2012

Study Tour Destinations:  Tampa, Florida; Cleveland, Ohio; and Washington, DC

The 2012 US Presidential Election Reporting Seminar included a number of rare opportunities to observe the US political process in action and interact with American voters. In Tampa, the journalists watched from the floor as Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, together with US Representative Connie Mack, US Senator Marco Rubio and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, stumped before a crowd of 1,200 supporters. The journalists also attended a rally of 2,000 Democrats headlined by the 42nd President of the United States and Barack Obama campaign surrogate, William Jefferson Clinton, in St. Petersburg. In Cleveland, journalists attended a rally for Vice President Joe Biden and musical guest, Jason Mraz, at a suburban high school. Finally, the journalists traveled to rural Youngstown, Ohio to observe an election eve rally for Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Paul Ryan. Observing rallies for both Republican and Democratic candidates reinforced party differences discussed in formal sessions and offered one-on-one interaction with party activists and supporters. Organized constituent luncheons further enabled participating journalists to speak one-on-one with American voters regarding their level of engagement in the political process, what issues were important to them and for which candidate they intended to vote. As a result of these constituent luncheons, participating journalists met over fifty constituents representing:  retirees, business owners, young Republicans, Asian-Americans and grassroots activists.

In 2008, Democratic nominee Barack Obama won Florida by a 2.8% margin of victory with big wins in Orlando and Tampa Bay, areas which Republican nominee George W. Bush won in 2004. With 29 of the necessary 270 electoral votes to win the US presidency, Florida was once again one of several key swing states in the 2012 election. The Tampa study tour afforded participating journalists with an introduction to core structural elements of US elections and the two major political parties as well as an opportunity to explore specific policy issues. In particular, the group benefited from a session with the EWC program coordinator explaining the US Electoral college, its federalist intent and its impact on Presidential and Vice Presidential campaigns. University of South Florida Associate Professor, Seth C. McKee, discussed today’s Republican and Democratic parties, the effect of primaries on party ideology and how both Presidential candidates fit into those ideologies. A session with Justin Day, who served as the Tampa Bay region finance chairman for President Obama’s re-election, examined campaign finance laws, the role of bundlers and SuperPACS on the 2012 campaign and how money was being spent by each of the candidates. In addition to sessions on core structural elements of US elections, the journalists explored immigration policy reform in a panel session with Ted Campbell, executive director of the Florida Strawberry Growers Association, and Aaron Sharockman, deputy government and politics editor of the Tampa Bay Times. Mr. Sharockman provided the journalists with an overview of current immigration statistics and policies and a sense of how Florida voters view the issue and the specific policy prescriptions of the two presidential candidates. Mr. Campbell, meanwhile, emphasized the effects of immigration on the US economy, especially in regards to the farming sector.

Like Florida, Ohio has also been a battleground in recent elections due to tight voting margins, its wealth of 20 electoral votes and its long history as a bellwether state. In 2008, Ohio was won by Barack Obama with a 4.6% margin of victory and in 2004 Ohio put George W. Bush over the top in a close 2.0% victory. Since 1944, Ohioans have sided with the losing candidate only once. The Cleveland study tour allowed participating journalists to explore specific policy issues dominating the 2012 presidential campaigns via meetings with policymakers, business leaders, community activists, and most importantly, voters. In an effort to understand the complex diversity that exists within the United States and its consequences for the 2012 presidential election, the journalists participated in a roundtable discussion at John Carroll University. The panel of speakers represented the American Civil Liberties Union, the Urban League of Cleveland, the Cleveland branch of the NAACP and the League of Women’s Voters. In a session with Daniel E. Berry, president and CEO of Cleveland’s Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, the journalists considered the importance of the manufacturing industry to the US economy and the policy prescriptions each candidate supported. Peter Broer, president of Luminex, also answered questions about the ways in which a small manufacturing firm negotiates domestic regulation, taxes, and healthcare legislation in a globally competitive world. Another key policy issue dominating the 2012 campaign that the journalists explored in Cleveland was how cities are reimagining their economic futures. A meeting with Frank Ford of Neighborhood Progress discussed the foreclosure crisis in Cleveland as well as the response by Cleveland’s community development organizations. Having weathered the loss of jobs and exodus of people to the suburbs in the 1990s, Cleveland was one of the first cities in the nation to work with the National Vacant Properties Campaign, creating a blueprint for strategically addressing neighborhood revitalization. The journalists had an opportunity to tour one of the worst hit neighborhoods and see firsthand both the damage inflicted by the foreclosure crisis and the revitalizing efforts. Finally, the journalists had multiple occasions to observe the 2012 presidential election taking place. Election Day began with a tour of Cuyahoga County’s Board of Elections office and an in-depth look at the vote counting process. The journalists observed US voters cast their ballots at a polling station and watched the election night results with US voters and party activists at election night parties hosted by the local chapters of the Republican and Democratic parties.

Following the election, journalists traveled to Washington, DC to meet with government officials, researchers and journalists to analyze the 2012 election results and the consequences for relations between the US and the Asia Pacific region. The group met with US State Department officials to discuss current US foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific region. Later, the journalists met with Jeffrey Bader of the Brookings Institution and Karl Inderfurth of the Center for Strategic and International Studies regarding the potential for continuity and change in the Obama administration’s national security policy. In addition, the journalists met with Jeffrey J. Schott of the Peterson Institute for International Economics to discuss how the new administration might prioritize and handle international trade agreements, how it will address domestic labor concerns regarding outsourcing and an increasingly global labor pool, and how it might increase the competitiveness of US companies, specifically vis-a-vis China. A meeting at the Pew Research Center analyzed the effect of new media on the 2012 US presidential campaigns and election. Finally, a unique highlight of the 2012 US Presidential Election Reporting Seminar was a tour the White House Press Room facilitated by an EWC alum. The 2012 US Presidential Election Reporting Seminar concluded with a facilitated debriefing session in Washington, DC. 

The 2012 US Presidential Election Reporting Seminar participants:

  • Ms. Yin Ping CHAN, Executive Producer, Radio Television Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR
  • Ms. Yan CHENG, Assistant Director of International News, Shanghai Morning Post, Shanghai, China
  • Mr. John HARTEVELT, Political Reporter, Fairfax Media, Wellington, New Zealand
  • Mr. Mahesh MHATRE, Editor and Publisher, Daily Prahaar, Mumbai, India
  • Mr. Bikash MOHAPATRA, Chief Features Editor, Rediff India Limited, Mumbai, India
  • Mr. Duong NGO, Editor, Young and Army Affairs Section, Tien Phong Newspaper, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Ms. Mariya SHAHSAWAR, Current Affairs Manager, Hasht e Subh Daily Newspaper, Kabul, Afghanistan
     

Contact Information

Liz A. Dorn
Program Coordinator, Seminars
East-West Center
1601 East West Road
Honolulu, Hawaii 96848
(tel) 808-944-7368
dorne@eastwestcenter.org