Journalism dept. and student org. host separate debate-viewing parties

by Meghan Allen / Beacon Staff • October 11, 2012

Tharp cpla
The two viewing parties were held in the Piano Row lobby and the back section of the dining hall.
The two viewing parties were held in the Piano Row lobby and the back section of the dining hall.

The journalism department and the Communication, Politics, and Law Association (CPLA) both held screenings of the presidential debate on Wednesday evening, each with high numbers of attendees. The groups will convene again on Thursday, Oct. 11 for the vice presidential spar.  

CPLA’s showing was located in the back of the Little Building dining hall. Every single table was occupied. The journalism department’s viewing was in the lobby of Piano Row.

Approximately 100 students attended the viewing party in the dining hall, and 45 students watched from the Piano Row Lobby. Although both events were well-attended, the journalism department gathering was smaller with fewer places to sit, and the CPLA event was able to hold and seat more students comfortably.

 According to Gregory Payne, an associate professor, CPLA has been holding the event for every presidential election since 1988.

Mario Delgado, a junior writing, literature, and publishing major, said he thinks the two separate  parties each presented the dialogue of the evening through different lenses.

“I’m part of Emerson Democrats — they spoke about it and opted not to host one of these parties, because it’s an Emerson tradition,” Delgado said. “But I don’t find it odd that the journalism department hosted their own screening. I think different people watch the debate for different reasons. The journalism department would look at it from a journalistic perspective.”

CPLA President Monica de Pinto Ribeiro said her organization tried to do a joint presentation with the journalism department.

“We found out recently about the journalism department screening,” said the junior political communication and theater studies double major. “We reached out for them to collaborate with us, but we never got a response. It’s fine, we have a great turnout, so do they, each one goes to their own.”

The journalism department event was organized by interim chair Paul Niwa. He said he remembers watching debates with his classmates when he was a journalism student.

“We would order some pizza, sit on the floor with our backpacks, and help each other decipher the policies and other jargon the candidates would toss around,” Niwa said. “I wanted to foster that kind of atmosphere of camaraderie among journalism students.”