Students view vice presidential debate during the October 5 DebateWatch event on campus. CSUN also sponsored a viewing and discussion of the October 13 presidential debate.
Cal State Northridge's speech and debate team brought students from all over campus for DebateWatch 2004 events on October 5 and 13 that sparked lively discussion about the presidential and vice presidential candidates and issues.
A voter education project of the National Communication Association and the Commission on Presidential Debates, DebateWatch 2004 provided a way to bring people together to view the national debates as a community. Rather than relying on media analysis, audiences discussed the debates immediately afterwards.
The DebateWatch events at CSUN--covered by news organizations such as ABC 7 News, NBC 4 and Spanish language media--were part of an effort to provide research information for compilation by the Commission on Presidential Debates. They marked the first time CSUN's Communication Studies Department has participated in the project since DebateWatch's inception in 1996.
"This was a great opportunity to bring students together to talk and share ideas during this very important political season," said event coordinator Becky Opsata, director of forensics in the Communication Studies Department.
Interaction with other CSUN students helped the forensics team members hone their critical analysis skills, Opsata said.
Working with speech and debate team moderators, viewers at the CSUN event were divided into groups for facilitated discussions on key issues raised in the debates.
Participants' reports on their impressions were collected by the CSUN debate students for forwarding to the Commission on Presidential Debates, established in 1987 to "sponsor and produce debates for the United States presidential and vice presidential candidates and to undertake research and educational activities relating to the debates."
A nonprofit, nonpartisan corporation, the commission sponsored the presidential debates in 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000.
Following closely on the heels of both the October debates and the presidential election itself, the Communication Studies Department and the CSUN forensics team will host a college speech and debate tournament from November 5Ð7 on campus, convening about 1,000 collegiate competitors from around the nation. The tournament will be open to the public.
For more information about the tournament, call Opsata at (818) 677-3043.
@csun | October 18, 2004 issue
Public Relations | University Advancement
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