Greenlee School Futures Forum to explore presidential campaign news coverage

AMES, Iowa -- Teams of political news media and campaign communicators will follow presidential candidates' every move prior to Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses -- helping to inform the public about its caucus night choices. And some tales from the campaign trail will be the focus of the Greenlee School Futures Forum at Iowa State University on Thursday and Friday, Oct. 20-21.

Sponsored by ISU's Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication and its advisory council -- a group of 25 professionals and alumni with experience across the spectrum of media -- the forum will take place in the Memorial Union and include events that focus on political journalism, communication and advertising. It is free and open to the public, and will feature local, state and national journalists, communicators and political experts.

"Because of the timing of the national presidential campaigns, and Iowa's role as an early destination, we thought it was relevant to examine the changing coverage of politics from all vantage points -- from the traditional press to bloggers and social media; from campaign leaders and pollsters; and from current job seekers who are looking for opportunities in this industry," said Dave Kurns (right), a 1982 ISU journalism graduate and director of business development for Meredith Corp. in Des Moines. Kurns chairs the Greenlee School Advisory Council.

The forum's showcase event, "The Iowa Bounce: How Political Coverage Shapes the Race," will be a panel discussion on Thursday at 8 p.m. in the Sun Room. Panelists will include Jeff Zeleny, lead political reporter, The New York Times; John McCormick, a reporter for the government team, Bloomberg News Service; Kathie Obradovich, political columnist, The Des Moines Register; and Dianne Bystrom, director of Iowa State's Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics. Chuck Todd, political director, NBC News, will participate via Skype. Bill Monroe, retired chief of operations for the Iowa Newspaper Association, will moderate the panel.

Panels will continue Friday in the Pioneer Room, starting at 11 a.m. with "Horse Race Journalism: Polls, Politics, Policy and Political Advertising," featuring Matt Strawn, chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa; Sue Dvorsky, chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic Party; Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., a public opinion research firm; and Mike Glover, veteran political reporter for The Associated Press, Des Moines bureau.

The 12:30 p.m. panel, "Working in Political Journalism and Communication: Your Career Starts Here," will showcase Scott Stanzel, former assistant press secretary, The White House; and Beth Pellett Levine, spokesperson for Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, among others.

The forum's final panel, "New Media and Politics: The Sphere of Influence," will start at 1:30 p.m. and includes Craig Robinson of The Iowa Republican, Todd Richissin of, Shane Vanderhart of, and Tyler Kingkade of The Huffington Post.

The Greenlee Futures Forum is the school's biannual internship, career and networking event.

"We believe that this forum is a great example of connecting today's Greenlee students with experts to share the real world of journalism," Kurns said.

The forum's schedule is online.