Mass Comm 139: Prof. Craig: First Debate Assignment

First Debate Assignment


The first debate of the 2016 general election campaign will be held Monday evening, September 26.  It will be carried on all the major news networks and available for viewing online in numerous outlets.  The debate will be between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton -- there will be no third-party candidates participating.  The moderator will be Lester Holt of NBC News.

Your assignment is as follows. 

  1. You will watch the debate in its entirety.  You DO NOT have to watch it live -- you can stream it later at your convenience.  However, you may not read or watch any commentary or analysis about the debate before viewing it, or before completing the assignment.  There are important reasons for this that I will discuss in class. 

  2. You will take notes on the debate, paying close attention to the following:
    * Both candidates' general performance (strengths and weaknesses)
    * Both candidates' seeming grasp of facts
    * Any mistakes or gaffes you believe either candidate makes
    * Any other pivotal moments you perceive
    * The general performance of the moderator 
    * The moderator's willingness/ability to question the truth of candidate assertions

  3. After watching the debate, you will write a two to four-page analysis of the event, focusing on the issues noted above and any other elements you believe to be important. If possible, please note the differences between performance aspects of the event (how positively or negatively a candidate came off on television) versus substantive aspects (command of facts, issue positions, etc.). 

You will not need to turn this in to me by class time on Wednesday the 28th, but you'll need to have it ready and available for your own use by then.  You'll need it for the in-class exercise I'll have you do at that time, and you'll turn the whole thing in the following Monday.  If you have questions, let me know.