The US 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 US 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 US election process, policy issues and American voter attitudes, thereby enhancing a journalist’s coverage of the US 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, candidates, business leaders, academics, journalists, community activists and voters from a range of diverse constituencies.
- Access to key constituencies, the election process and US 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.
2012 US 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
Funding: Participating journalists are expected to cover seminar costs at a rate of USD $5,750.00/per participant to be paid prior to the beginning of the program. The seminar fee covers the following programmatic costs:
- Domestic US airfare from Tampa, FL to Cleveland, OH and Washington, DC
- Ground transportation and airport transfers
- Hotel accommodation in each city
- Provided program meals, including one dinner and two lunches 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
- An experienced program coordinator that is actively engaged in the US political process to accompany the group as a resource person and escort.
Participating journalists are 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.
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
Liz A. Dorn
Program Coordinator, Seminars
1601 East West Road
Honolulu, Hawaii 96848