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'Debate Watch 2004' gets students and residents engaged in political process

ATHENS, Ohio (Sept. 29, 2004) -- Ohio University students and area residents will become actively engaged with the political process by offering their feedback to the first presidential debate during "Debate Watch 2004" at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, in Nelson Commons. The event, which will feature a big-screen TV broadcast of the event, is free and open to the public.

Using remote control devices, 50 participating students will provide instant feedback to remarks by Sen. John Kerry and President George Bush for a tally that will be maintained during the debate. All participants will complete surveys both prior to and after the debates to gauge how their views are impacted by the debate.

"This offers a great opportunity for students to become more than just spectators in the political process and to gather information from this important segment of voters," said Jerry Miller, director of Ohio University's political communication program, who will provide a brief introduction to presidential debates consistent with that which is suggested by the Commission on Presidential Debates. "Although a number of classes have planned to attend the debate watch, participating as research subjects is completely voluntary."

Ben Bates, professor of communication studies, will provide a post-debate analysis and a members of the Political Communication Certificate Program will conduct focus group discussions.

The event is sponsored by the Political Communication Certificate Program, Colleges of Communication and Arts and Sciences, School of Communication Studies and the Political Science Department.

Attendees are eligible to win one of four $25 gift certificates to Follett's Bookstore.

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Media Contact: Director of the Political Communication Program Jerry Miller, (740) 593-4831

Note to media: This event provides an ideal opportunity to see how the important voting segment of college students reacts to the presidential candidates. If you'd like to cover the event and interview students, please contact media specialist Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793 or jefferyj@ohio.edu.

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