URI students from two classes find
primary reasons for politics
KINGSTON, R.I. -- February 25, 2000 -- URI journalism students David
Brown and Sean Bodden weren't overly impressed with members of the press
covering the New Hampshire primary. "The media was like shrink wrap,"
recalled Brown. "Everyone wanted to know why a candidate from the southwest
was doing so well."
Brown and Bodden are in one of two URI classes that traveled to the Granite
State to take in the political action of a presidential primary.
The pair, enrolled in an advanced reporting class taught by Linda Levin,
was assigned to follow Arizona Senator John McCain's campaign trail, which
led to Concord, Lebanon, and Exeter.
Bodden found it a "challenge" to take photographs. However,
he was impressed with his competition-an international reporter who wore
leather pants and was driven around in a white limousine.
Students Katie Haughey and Laura Richetson found following candidate
Texas Gov. George Bush difficult. Even his campaign workers sometimes didn't
seem to know where he was.
Jack Guillet, assigned Bill Bradley, delighted in the "passion of
the people of New Hampshire." He found most residents seem to relish
attention and most had registered as independents.
"I told the students-the day of the New Hampshire primary is the
most important story in the world and they are part of it," said Levin
who has taken classes to the last four New Hampshire primaries. URI's College
of Arts and Sciences Hope and Heritage Fund generously supported this year's
"The primary was held earlier and it was much busier," said
Dr. Patrick Devlin who took his political communications class to the primary.
Their trip was supported by the URI Foundation.
Two evenly balanced races generated much of this year's excitement.
"It was like a huge rock show," said student Angeline Martyn.
Devlin, an expert on political advertisements, whose niche this time
is primary ads, said that 160 political TV ads ran each day during the N.H.
Devlin's first primary was as a campaigner for the "Clean for Gene
(McCarthy)" campaign in 1968. The professor has attended primaries
as an area of academic focus ever since and has now been at it for nine
His class was asked to listen to speeches and debates, watch ads and
look at media coverage.
There's little doubt that URI student Lauren Fontaine, the Rhode Island
student director for Al Gore, had a good time. She has met the candidate
four times and attended a party in his honor. The best part, she said was
meeting campaign workers, from all over the country.
Students Kimberly Russell and Maureen Jones got to shake hands with candidate
Steve Forbes. They wondered why his latest TV ads showed his face so close
up. "It was a little scary," commented Russell.
For More Information: Jan Sawyer, 874-2116