Journalism class to cover NH primaries

by Emily Tanaka / Beacon Correspondent • September 23, 2015

Rob Way is one of the students taking Jerry Lanson's class.
Rob Way is one of the students taking Jerry Lanson's class.

Students will be working with The Boston Globe to cover the New Hampshire primary election in Associate Journalism Professor Jerry Lanson’s course, Road to the White House. Students will also be working with political reporter James Pindell “Ground Games,” a Globe newsletter dedicated to reporting on presidential primaries. 

The Road to the White House  is a course that “will expose [students] to the special challenges of political coverage and thrust you into the heart of [the presidential campaign],” as described in the class syllabus. It was designed to give students a better understanding of the primaries and their process as the presidential campaign season progresses. The opportunity to work on a national political campaign arose when Jerry Lanson approached Shira Center, political editor at the Globe,and James Pindell, a reporter, over the summer.

“The Globe wants to be the go-to place for the New Hampshire primaries and I had 17 reporters eager for the opportunity,” said Lanson.

While Emerson students have worked with the Globe in past years covering stories like Occupy Boston, Lanson noted that he’s never seen an opportunity to cover a national political campaign.

“I will be backing everyone up and will do my best, but they will also have to give it their best,” Lanson said. 

Every week, two students sign up to research news links to post to “Ground Game” and contribute one event story to the Globe, according to Lanson. The students split research between New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and national news. 

Each student will also be assigned a political candidate to monitor daily. 

Center said students will get the opportunity to drive out to New Hampshire in cars rented with money contributed by the Globe and the journalism department, and be part of the national press pool to cover the primary. 

As Globe correspondents, the students will contact the campaign and head to the primary. Once there, they will interview officials, four voters, and anyone else they deem essential to the event. The students are also required to track the event on Twitter. Afterward, they will contact Center or Pindell to file their lead. They will then have two hours to complete and file a 350 to 450-word piece.

“The [first] key is to learn professionalism in a competitive environment,” Lanson said. “The second is to learn about politics and the press: how elections work, how to cover them, how to find a story a little different from the rest. The third is to leave with a sense of professionalism and a portfolio that will help them in the future.”