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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 25, 2003

UI Students To Get Hands-On Political Experience In Fall Classes

Some UI students will immerse themselves in national politics this fall by taking classes that focus on Iowa's role in Election 2004.

Faculty members David Redlawsk, Jane Singer and Basil Talbott have assembled classes structured around the upcoming Iowa caucuses with hopes that students will walk away with a better understanding of this political process.

Redlawsk, an assistant professor of political science, is offering a first-year seminar, "Caucuses and the Presidential Nomination Process," for first- and second-semester students.

"This class is focused on what role caucuses play, especially in Iowa," Redlawsk said. "There will be a balance of historical information with books and background, along with up-to-date news."

Redlawsk plans to invite political guests, such as campaign consultants, representatives from interest groups and perhaps candidates themselves to speak to his class. Also as part of the course students will compile a portfolio of candidates using different sources and multimedia.

"My hope for the class is that students get an understanding of what role Iowa plays in the caucuses. I hope they will either be able to oppose or defend that role," Redlawsk said. "This is a real political process; I hope that they can connect with it."

Another fall course relating to the upcoming election is "Presidential Politics," a journalism course co-taught by Talbott, George H. Gallup professor of journalism and mass communication, and Singer, assistant professor of journalism and mass communication. Students in this course will cover presidential politics like professional political reporters as candidates and political aides come to Iowa in the months leading up to the 2004 caucuses.

Students will write stories and produce content for both print and the web, in an innovative course that combines an advanced reporting and writing course, an advanced media workshop and a master's advanced media workshop.

Singer said the course will have a flexible structure so students can cover different movements in the political world.

"Students will cover behind-the-scenes and human interest stories as well as actual hard news stories," she said. "It will be up to the students to develop interesting political stories."

Both Singer and Talbott are excited about this opportunity for students to learn first-hand about the key role Iowa plays in the caucuses and election.

"Our goal is to give students a good understanding of how to cover presidential campaigns as journalists," Talbott said.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011, mary-kenyon@uiowa.edu. Writer: Christina Preiss