DNC Day Three and Evaluating News Coverage Of The National Party Conventions

Michael Hayball

Lee Wilkins

The Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia has had no shortage of skillful speeches filled with soaring rhetoric. Last night, we heard what’s probably one of the last great speeches that President Obama will give during his tenure in office. He said there’s never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president. 

President Obama is a gifted orator, says Wayne State professor and Department of Communications chair Lee Wilkins, and last night’s convention speech will likely not be the last great speech he gives.

Remember presidents like Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, she says, who continued to give speeches after their time in office had ended.

He’s still a young man, and he’s still going to have lots to say.” says Wilkins.

It wasn’t clear exactly who President Obama’s address was directed to, says Wilkins, but it may have allowed voters in the middle, those who don’t self-identify as conservative or independent, to think of Hillary Clinton in a new way.

If you’re really, really, strongly in the Trump camp,” says Wilkins, “I suspect that there’s little anyone could say at this point to persuade you otherwise.”

We also wanted to look at how we — the news media — are doing in terms of covering these conventions? What have we focused too much of our attention on? What have we not focused on enough?

News tends to be defined as ‘what happened today,’” says Wilkins. “One of the things that journalists are really bad at - and we have no excuse, we can get better at this - is simply to put what happened today into a larger context of things that happened maybe six months, maybe two years ago, that influence what happens today.”

To hear the full conversation, click on the audio player above.

Image credit: Dawn Uhl-Zifilippo/WDET

This post is a part of 2016 Elections: Issues & Candidates.

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