June 20, 2011
University of Iowa introduces resources for journalists covering 2012 election
As the national media spotlight begins to shine on Iowa during the prelude to the state's first-in-the-nation caucuses, University of Iowa political experts are poised to provide commentary and analysis.
At http://www.uiowa.edu/election, reporters will find bios and contact information for more than a dozen faculty experts who know the state's political landscape. The site also features political news from the UI, such as results from state and national UI Hawkeye Polls and stories on political research.
@UIowaPolitics, a new Twitter feed established by staff in UI News Services, introduces reporters to the team of UI professors who comment regularly on politics, and provides links to the coverage.
Laminated, wallet-sized expert cards with after-hours contact information for several of the UI's top analysts are available upon request, and the Office of University Relations maintains a database of reporters interested in receiving political news from the UI. (To request a card or sign up for the list, contact distribution coordinator Debb Thumma at email@example.com or 319-384-0006.)
"Already this year, our experts have shared insight with NPR, the Huffington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Campaigns and Elections, the Austin American-Statesman, and countless state and local news outlets," said Stephen Pradarelli, director of University News Services. "Analysts who understand Iowa politics are in demand, and we have an exceptional stable of pundits available to provide interpretation. We hope these resources will help connect journalists with UI sources throughout the caucus season and the election."
The core of commentators includes authorities on campaigns, candidate behavior, political communication, and, of course, the Iowa Caucuses. Other specialties include foreign policy, education policy, health care, political sociology and "the middle class," women in politics, immigration, and a computer scientist who can discuss voting technology and election administration.
"Whether it's live commentary on election night, helping a seasoned political reporter explore a new twist on a story, or providing 20 minutes of background to a student reporter at The Daily Iowan, I view it as a public service," said UI political scientist Tim Hagle, who in the past year and half has given nearly 250 interviews on GOP politics, candidates and campaigns, and Iowans' perceptions of the contenders. "The overall goal is to share knowledge, to provide some cogent thoughts that will help advance the story and provide some useful information for the readers, listeners or viewers."
The UI expert list includes four business professors who oversee the Iowa Electronic Markets (IEM), a Web-based political futures market where traders use real money to speculate on outcomes of presidential and congressional elections. The IEM, a teaching and research tool, has been forecasting election outcomes accurately since its inception in 1988. The markets are public, so anyone can buy contracts in a candidate of their choice. Winning contracts pay $1; losing contracts pay nothing.
Also on the site, reporters will find ideas for feature stories. "Why Iowa?" a book coauthored by UI political scientist Caroline Tolbert, explains the state's increasingly influential role in the nomination process and proposes a new, fairer system. UI political communication expert David Perlmutter argues that politicians should be more like professors, even though President Obama gets criticized for it. And law professor David Orentlicher calls for a two-person presidency to quell voter anger.
Other facets of the site include details on campaigning on campus and accommodations in Iowa City, a history of the Iowa Caucuses, and a UI documentary that explains the peculiar process of caucusing.
UI experts on the election site are faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Henry B. Tippie College of Business, the College of Law, and UI Health Care.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500
MEDIA CONTACT: Nicole Riehl, 319-384-0070, firstname.lastname@example.org