The Obama administration still in its early days was the main topic of conversation at a three-day political conference at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Conference attendees, including several student journalists, were on a quest to absorb, analyze and reflect on the details of what many political experts describe as the most exciting presidential campaign in modern times.
Organized and sponsored by the National Association of Black Journalists’ Media Institute, the conference explored topics such as “Getting off the Press Plane,” “Politics and the Numbers,” “New Media, New Game” and “Covering the Next White House.” Weighing in were The Washington Post’s Kevin Merida, Krissah Williams Thompson and Joe Davidson and former columnist Dorothy Gilliam. Other well-known opinion writers included the Chicago Tribune’s Clarence Page, former Baltimore Sun columnist Gregory Kane and The Washington Times’ Tara Wall. CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux and Joe Johns presented a broadcast news perspective.
Merida, an associate editor of The Washington Post and co-author of “Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs,” among other works, moderated the panel “Politics and the Numbers.”
“If you thought this was the beginning of something new — Cornel West says it’s the age of Obama — what are the challenges, and how do you see it playing out with the citizenry?” Merida asked the panel, which included Thompson, a staff writer who covered how voters nationwide viewed the historic election. Others on the panel were Ronald Walters, a University of Maryland professor who is an expert on African-American leadership and politics; and Shawnta Walcott, a principal pollster and CEO for Ariel and Ethan Polling and Market Research.
“Some say the challenges will include holding the new president accountable [for his campaign promises]. But will [such oversight] come from the Democrats who need to be responsible to certain groups?” Merida asked.
Walters, who was deputy campaign manager for issues during Jesse Jackson’s 1984 campaign for president, said he isn’t sure whether “this is the age of Obama,” considering the challenges he faces. Rather, he refers to Obama’s election as a realignment that must be monitored for the next two election cycles to determine its ultimate outcome.
Walters said Obama’s election was driven by unique circumstances such as war, the faltering economy and a stagnant middle class.
“What happens if those circumstances go away?” he asked. “Will it still be the age of Obama?”
Thompson, noting how technology was the “game changer” in the Obama campaign, said the question remains how will his administration turn that energy into accompanying his agenda.
While the Obama team of rivals no doubt will form elaborate think tanks to craft its post-election technology, many journalists wonder how they themselves will transition and adapt to new media concepts and models.
One answer came during the “New Media, New Game,” workshop featuring Mario Armstrong, host of Digital Spin and a technology consultant for NPR, and Madison Gray, a writer and producer for Time.com.
Armstrong and Gray were a virtual bag of tricks with their tips and tools for practicing technology-driven journalism.
Don’t know what to do with all those business cards you pick up during interviews, networking events or journalism conventions? Invest in a device that scans cards directly into desktop or laptop computers.“
Gotta cover a war? No problem. Check out Toughbook laptops by Panasonic. They’re durable and mobile and considered a street fighter among laptops.
Can you hear me now? If not, get away from the flip phones and try the BlackBerry Bold, a multimedia must-have for executives.
Make others green with envy by checking out solar products that also recharge your dead batteries..
Having a hard time capturing audio while trying to write in a notebook? Even Shakespeare would enjoy the new smart pens that capture much ado about everything www.livescribe.com/sneakpeek. www.livescribe.com/sneakpeek