I will be speaking at two academic conferences in New York City this month.
On Saturday, March 15, I will present my paper, The Impact of New Jersey Newspapers on the Development of the State’s Transportation Infrastructure, at the AJHA-AEJMC History Division Joint Journalism Historians meeting. The conference, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., takes place at the Roosevelt Hotel, 45 East 45th Street.
The paper aims to illustrate the impact that the state’s newspapers have had on its transportation system and to underscore the significance of the media’s role in the current debate over Governor Corzine’s proposal to raise tolls to fund transportation improvements and pay down state debt. It includes a series of case studies and examples, ranging from the pre-Revolutionary War era to the Governor’s present proposal.
The following Saturday, March 22, I will present my paper, Has Election Coverage Entered A Brave New World?, at the 12th Annual Meeting of the New Jersey Communication Association. The conference will be held at Marymount Manhattan College, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In this paper, I review the role of the internet in election campaigns and examine how print newspapers are using their online versions to provide election results in a manner that is just as timely as — and sometimes more than — the electronic media.
Partisan politics and constructive debate play an important a role in our democracy, but far too often partisanship trumps responsibility and honesty. Case in point: the recent flap over the Town Hall meetings that Governor Corzine plans to hold regarding his financial restructuring and debt reduction plans.
Apparently, Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce took umbrage when he learned that citizens planning to attend the sessions were being required to RSVP to the Governor’s Office.
We don’t know whether DeCroce reached out to the Corzine to alert the Governor of his concern. What we do know is that the GOP leader fired off a blistering press release invoking comparisons to the Soviet Union and questioning why the Governor’s Office was asking potential attendees “to provide considerable information about themselves, including their place of employment.”
Wondering how this could be true, I logged onto the Governor’s webpage on the meetings, but was unable to find any form asking for place of employment. The closet possibilities were boxes for “organization” and “daytime phone number,” but both of these were optional.
But the Governor’s Office was not without blame either. In response to DeCroce’s press release, Corzine spokeswoman Lilo Stainton called the notion that people would be denied entrance to the meetings ludicrous and said, “Anyone that shows up will be allowed in.” That’s all fine and well, except for the fact that the Governor’s own website clearly states: “If you would like to attend you must RSVP.”
With Governor Corzine’s State of the State address coming up next week, this is a good time to revisit The State of Speeches in 2007, a research essay I wrote last year about speeches and the speechwriting process.