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Panel Explores Influence of Debates

October 20, 2008 | by Wendy Leopold
EVANSTON, Ill. --- How greatly will the recent presidential debates affect the results of the upcoming election? That will be the topic of a presentation by a former chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a nationally known expert on presidential rhetoric and a First Amendment scholar Wednesday, Oct. 22, at Northwestern University.

Former FCC chair Newton Minow will join Northwestern University professors David Zarefsky and Craig LaMay to host "The 2008 Televised Debates: Will They Change the Election Outcome?" The free and public event will take place at 5 p.m. in the Forum Room in the McCormick Tribune Center, 1870 Campus Drive, Evanston campus. A reception and book signing will follow.

Minow, who was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to the FCC in 1961, coined the popular term the "vast wasteland" to characterize television in the 1960s. A life trustee of Northwestern University, he has collaborated on books with LaMay, including the recently published "Inside the Presidential Debates: Their Improbable Past and Promising Future."

LaMay, associate professor at the Medill School of Journalism, has published work in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Newsweek and numerous other publications.

Zarefsky, the Owen L. Coon Professor of Communication Studies, teaches courses in argumentation and presidential rhetoric. An authority on the Lincoln-Douglas debates, he currently is at work on a book about the rhetoric of President Lyndon Johnson.

"The 2008 Televised Debates" is sponsored by Northwestern's School of Continuing Studies and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Complimentary parking is available on the upper level of the southeast Campus Drive parking structure on the Evanston campus (enter east side of Campus Drive). For information, call (847) 492-8204.
Topics: Campus Life