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Project Title:RIC ADP Partners with Local News Leader for Election Coverage Institution Name:Rhode Island College Innovation Category:Research and Regional Stewardship Project Director:Valerie Endress, Professor, Political Communications Contact Information:(401) 456-4781 , vendress@ric.eduWebsite:http://www.ric.edu/whatsnews/details.php?News_ID=988
Project Description:The ADP at RIC teamed with NBC-10, the state’s news leader, to present a series of debates and forums to inform citizens about the issues that shaped 2010 political agendas. It was the first time that a Rhode Island college and a local TV station partnered for election coverage, which included four candidates’ debates broadcast live from the college. Also, for the first time in Rhode Island’s history, dial testing was used to display immediate audience reaction to the candidates’ statements. A representative group of voters used the handheld, wireless technology to record their reactions that were displayed on the television screen. 
Objectives:
  • The ADP will provide instant analysis of voter reaction, including who won, who lost, and which issues resonated most with the public.
  • Students under the aegis of ADP are involved in conducting focus groups to evaluate Rhode Islanders’ opinions on the debate format and if these forums influence voter choice. 
  • Students join the ADP faculty to analyze the results and present the information to media outlets and in academic conferences.
Outcomes:
  • Instant analysis of voter reaction, including who won/lost, and which issues resonated with the public.
  • New technologies offered viewers the opportunity to gauge how the audience’s responses compare to that of the analysts’ viewpoints. 
  • Project let students see first hand how these methods are employed.
  • RIC received an unprecedented amount of free publicity and recognition as a hub for political and civic engagement in the state.
Challenges/Problems Encountered:None to speak of since all parties involved were professionals in their respective fields, from academics to publicity to broadcast technology.
Evaluation Approach:The project was so unique and well received that RIC professors are now at the forefront as highly sought experts for political commentary. NBC-10 has asked to continue to partnership going forward into the next election season just 18 months away.
CEO-to-CEO Contact:Nancy Carriuolo , Presidentncarriuolo@ric.edu
(401) 456-8100
Date Published: Monday, March 28, 2011