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2012.09.20 > For Immediate Release
contact: Barbara Pickering - School of Communication
phone: 402.554.2204 - email: bpickering@unomaha.edu

UNO to Hold DebateWatch 2012 for First Presidential Debate

Omaha - The public can join students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Wednesday, Oct. 3, to watch President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney square off during the first presidential debate.

The UNO School of Communication and the Office of Academic and Student Affairs sponsor the free, non-partisan event called DebateWatch. DebateWatch, a voter education program of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), brings the public together to watch and discuss the televised debates.

The event takes place in the College of Public Affairs and Community Service (CPACS) Lecture Hall Room 101. Viewing of the debate will last 90 minutes, beginning at 8 p.m. with pizza and refreshments being served, while supplies last, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Those attending DebateWatch 2012 will be encouraged to participate in Twitter conversations before, during and after the debate. Students in Barbara Pickering’s Political Broadcasting class and Adam Tyma’s Mass Communication and Public Opinion class will monitor several Twitter feeds during the debate. Pickering, an associate professor of communication, coordinated DebateWatch events in 2004 and 2008, and students in her Political Broadcasting class served as facilitators for these events. Tyma is an assistant professor of communication at UNO.

“It’s an opportunity to sit and watch the presidential debate with others who are there to do the same thing; to interact with the audience for the debates, to ask questions, and to voice your comments,” Tyma said. “It’s an opportunity for anyone who wants to come and watch it to really get involved with the election process and the democratic process beyond voting.”

The first presidential debate will focus on domestic policy and is the only debate that will be part of UNO’s DebateWatch. The second presidential debate on Oct. 16 will be town hall meeting format and will include questions raised by the audience. The third presidential debate on Oct. 22 will focus on foreign policy. The vice-presidential debate on Oct. 11 will focus on both domestic and foreign policy.

The debates are broadcast live around the world on: ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, FOX News and MSNBC among others. Each debate streams live online at: www.2012presidentialelectionnews.com/2012-presidential-debate-schedule.

“Students should be listening to arguments being made and how those arguments are made,” Tyma said. “Which direction this election goes is really going to be a precursor to a lot of things that are going to happen in the United States in the next decade. It’s an important election that people should take a look at and pay attention to.”

For more information on DebateWatch 2012, contact Pickering at bpickering@unomaha.edu or at 402.554.2204.


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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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