Back in the 2008 primary season, Communication Professor David Domke took 16 undergraduates to primary and caucus states to provide blog coverage of the unfolding presidential campaign. They covered six states and their blog posts ran on news websites nationwide.
Domke hoped it might be an excellent learning experience. “It was that and more,” he later wrote. “We saw the future of political journalism in America.”
Now, with the 2012 primary campaign heating up, Domke and colleagues are returning to the campaign trail in partnership with The Seattle Times. And this year, joining the coverage crew to kick off things will be Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist David Horsey, a Communication Department alumnus who recently joined The Los Angeles Times.
The UW Department of Communication is joining with the Seattle Times to present Election Eye 2012, an on-the-ground blog that will cover part of the 2012 primary campaign “as seen through the eyes of UW students and faculty.” Domke calls the project part “journalistic road trip,” depicting the sweep of the campaign, and “part hometown” with an up-close look at such events as the March 3 Washington state caucuses. The blog is hosted by the Times.
To begin the coverage, Domke is traveling to South Carolina with four students and two faculty members to blog from that pivotal state as its citizens help choose the next Republican nominee. Hell be joined by fellow communication faculty Anita Verna Crofts, associate director of the departments digital media masters program; and Alex Stonehill, who is also a member of the Common Language Project.
“We seek to provide compelling insight into some of the lives, experiences, ideas, hopes and fears, and words of the menagerie of people who engage in Campaign 2012,” Domke wrote in a statement about the blog. “This includes candidates, their handlers and strategists, diehard activists, voters, journalists, and anyone and anything else that grabs our attention. We write, we take photos, we shoot video and record audio — all with technology that can fit entirely in a backpack or even our pockets.”
The winner of the Republican South Carolina primary has gone on to become the partys nominee in every presidential contest since 1980, so covering the contest “promises to be compelling,” Domke wrote.
The group intends to focus mainly on the Republican primary campaign for the first three months of 2012, but will check in on Democratic politics as well.
“Then, beginning in early April, we will broaden our field of vision to also include Washington states gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional seats,” Domke said. The bloggers will also likely travel to Nevada, Colorado and Idaho.
The group favors no candidate or party. In his first blog post, Domke stated, “We will not be covering breaking news; that can be found in a million places these days. Instead, we will produce on-the-ground content in which we extract slices of the campaigns, vignettes, and moment and windows into political souls.”
Its a busy season for Domke — hes also giving a series of lectures titled “Visions of America: Barack Obama, the Tea Party and the 2012 Presidential Election,” sponsored by the UW Alumni Association and Seattle Arts & Lectures that runs through March 6.
Election Eye 2012 is made possible by the support of alumni and donors, and will run through Election Day.