RIC’s American Democracy Project teams up with NBC-10 for election 2010 events

Schedule of Events

Sapinsley Hall in the Nazarian Center

Race: Republican Gubernatorial
September 8
Tape: 2:00 pm
Air: 7:30 pm
Moderator: Bill Rappleye

Race: Congressional, District 1
Tape: October 29. 1:30 pm
Air: October 30, 7:30pm
Moderator: Bill Rappleye

Race: Congressional, District 2
Tape: October 29, 3:30 pm
Air: October 30, 8:00 pm
Moderator: Bill Rappleye

Race: R.I. Governor
Airs live: October 29, 7:30 pm,
(1 hour)
Moderator: Bill Rappleye


Tuesday, September 21
The Politics of Anger in the 2010 Election

2-4 pm Alger 110
American voters nurture and even celebrate their long-held tradition of voicing dissatisfaction about the role of government. Third parties emerge, candidates espouse change, protest groups develop, and upsets occur. In particular, mid-term elections have always been an uncertain proposition for incumbents—especially those in the majority party. This year the voices of dissent and anger seem louder and more emphatic. Are we seeing a new era in politics or merely a continuation of a rich tradition? Will it really matter? Our panel will examine the frenzy involved in the intense partisan battle for public opinion.
Moderator: Jim Taricani, NBC-10 I-TEAM reporter
Participants: Gordon Fox '85, R.I. Speaker of the House of Representative; Arlene Violet, former R.I. Attorney General and talk radio host; Bob Whitcomb, Providence Journal editorial editor; Maureen Moakley, URI political science professor; and Colleen Conley, founder of the R.I. Tea Party.

Thursday, November 18,
A Look Behind the Curtain: The Inside Story of Rhode Island's 2010 Winning Campaigns

11 am -1 pm Alger 110
After what has been one of the most interesting and hotly contested elections in recent Rhode Island history, winning candidates and their campaign consultants will offer the audience a rare, behind-the-scenes look at a campaign from the inside. With the results in, and the walls down, this session will provide a first-hand account of how these campaigns captured the prize, a perspective on winning strategies, and an assessment of the field.
Moderators: Bill Rappleye, NBC-10 political reporter and Victor Profughi, RIC professor emeritus of political science

It is a first-of-a-kind joint venture for the oldest public institution of higher learning in Rhode Island and the state’s leading news channel. For the first time in R.I., dial testing, a method used by national news media, will be part of the coverage.

The American Democracy Project (ADP) at Rhode Island College, a campus initiative that promotes political engagement throughout the state, has entered into a partnership with NBC-10, the state’s leading local news station, to present a series of debates and forums to inform voters, support the election process, and encourage citizens to learn about the issues that shape the political agendas of the 2010 election season.

This is the first time that a Rhode Island higher education institution and a local television station have joined forces for election season coverage. The partnership will begin with co-sponsorship of a series of four debates, beginning with the Republican gubernatorial primary contest on Sept. 8, then a general election gubernatorial debate on Oct. 29, followed by both congressional contests broadcast on Oct. 30.

Valerie Endress
“One of the most interesting aspects of this partnership is the direct and unfiltered measurement of Rhode Island citizens’ responses,” said Valerie Endress, RIC professor of political communication and one of the college’s ADP organizers. “The ADP will provide instant analysis of voter reaction, including who won, who lost, and which issues resonated with the public.”

For the first time in Rhode Island history, dial testing will used to display immediate audience reaction to the candidates’ statements. A representative group of Rhode Island voters will use the handheld, wireless, dial meter technology to record their reactions that will be displayed in real time on the bottom of the viewer’s television screen.

The dial testing method has been used on CNN, ABC, CBS, Fox and MSNBC during national broadcasts of presidential debates. RIC and NBC-10 have formed a research team that includes Southern Methodist University (SMU) professors who have coordinated the testing for the national news organizations.

Kay Israel
Students under the aegis of ADP will be involved in conducting focus groups that will evaluate Rhode Islanders’ opinions on the debate format and whether these forums will influence voter choice. The students will join the ADP faculty team to analyze the results and present the information to media outlets and in academic conferences.

“These new technologies will offer viewers the opportunity to gauge how the audience’s responses compares to that of the analysts’ viewpoints. Our project also offers our students the opportunity to see first hand how these methods are employed, ” said Kay Israel, ADP organizer and RIC political communication professor,

NBC-10 has also engaged the services of Victor Profughi, RIC professor emeritus of political science, and Quest Research Group, to conduct polling of the statewide and congressional races.

“This is a very exciting opportunity to enrich our coverage and engage voters more in the political process during a pivotal moment for our local government,” said Chris Lanni, content brand manager for NBC-10. “We are especially proud to be partnering with a prestigious local college and the renowned American Democracy Project.”

In addition, RIC will sponsor two high-profile panel discussions this fall. The first, scheduled for September 21, will explore the “Politics of Anger,” in the midterm elections, and will feature Jim Taricani, NBC-10 I-TEAM reporter; R.I. House Speaker Gordon Fox; former R.I. Attorney General Arlene Violet; Providence Journal Editorial Editor Bob Whitcomb; Colleen Conley, founder of the R.I. Tea Party; and URI political science professor Maureen Moakley.

On Nov. 18, NBC-10’s Bill Rappleye and Profughi will moderate a discussion with Election 2010 winners and their top campaign consultants.

Jane Fusco
Since its inception at the college in 2004, the ADP at RIC has gained a well-earned reputation as a statewide leader in political programming.

“A key element of our success is involving the media in our forums and programs,” said Jane Fusco, RIC’s news and PR director and ADP organizer. “The first place that voters learn about politics and politicians is usually through the media. They inform, we educate.”

For more information, contact Jane Fusco, RIC’s director of News and PR, at (401) 456-8468; jfusco@ric.edu.

Coming in Spring 2011:

Politics as Entertainment: Where Should the Media Draw the Line?
Fair and Independent Courts: A Panel Discussion on the State of the Judiciary