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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

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 trip.

"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. primary.

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 presidential elections.

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


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