Change Text Size
Email Columns Print page
Columns: The Online newspaper for the University of Georgia community
Show Index
September 27, 2010   Columns Articles | Inside UGA | Rewiring politics
Magnify New Media Panel-H. action
Taking part in the panel discussion on the role of new media in political campaigns are (from left): U.S. Sen. Saxby, Chambliss (R-Georgia): U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska): Neal Boortz, nationally syndicated radio talk show host; and Cully Clark, dean of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Photo by Peter Frey

Rewiring politics

Lawmakers, media professionals discuss use of new technology in political communications

Matt Weeks

Public Relations Coordinator

Recent and archived articles by Matt Weeks

Terry College of Business
Work: 706-542-3527
By Matt Weeks | September 27, 2010

New media forces are reshaping American politics, but traditional journalistic standards and practices still play an important role in national discourse, a panel of lawmakers and media professionals said Sept. 20 at the Chapel.

U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Ben Nelson, D-Neb., joined nationally syndicated radio host Neal Boortz and Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication Dean E. Culpepper Clark at the "New Media: How Technology Influences American Politics" symposium, which focused on how the Internet has changed the way candidates and voters communicate.

"More than anything, the Internet has given a free or very low-cost platform for anyone with an opinion, a story or a one-liner," said UGA President Michael F. Adams. "And while on the one hand, a freer flow of information is good for democracy, there are also legitimate concerns about the credible assessment of the information that is available to us."

Despite the panel's differing political opinions, the panelists agreed more often than not. Each called for students to continue reading traditional media sources and to independently verify "facts" they read and hear. The discussion also touched on issues like Internet anonymity and privacy.

"Space and privacy no longer equate. Anything that happens in this session is now, in fact, virally spinning out," Clark said. "There is no space that is not subject to digital re-presentation somewhere else."

Technology's rapid evolution also means that new elections bring new ways for voters and candidates to interact, which has both good and bad consequences, Chambliss said.

"It's unbelievable how fast things can spread, whether they're true or not," he said. "During my last political campaign, we had six people sitting down every day looking at blogs."

Nelson agreed.

"You can't chase down and stop it no matter what you do and how many people you have sitting at the monitors trying to stop it. There is no way to stop that once it goes," he said. "Consequently, what we have to do is get the message out in the best ways that are out there."

Boortz, who reaches millions both through the radio and the Internet, urged students not to rely solely on new media outlets.

"It is really sad to see the decline of newspapers in this country the way it is," he said. "It is outrageous that my website made more money than the Atlanta Journal-­Constitution last year, so if I can make a commercial for anybody-don't give up newspapers, folks. Buy 'em and devour 'em."

More from this issue

  • September 27, 2010

    Doctoral completion rate for African Americans ranks among top in nation

    Diverse Issues in Higher Education recently ranked UGA 15th in the nation for doctoral degrees awarded to African Americans, up from 17th in last year's rankings. Continue

  • September 27, 2010

    Diversity Days kick off celebrates new opportunities for inclusion

    University faculty, staff and students spoke about the value of a rich and varied campus community Sept. 13 at the Diversity Days kickoff celebration, which marks the start of a month of inclusion and acceptance-related activities on campus. Continue

  • September 27, 2010

    D.W. Brooks lecturer will discuss magnitude of global food system

    For more than 25 years, the University of Minnesota's Jean Kinsey has studied the issues of getting food to hungry people-and the economics, policies and opportunities involved. Continue

  • September 27, 2010

    UGA to host State of State of Education Conference Sept. 30

    Some of Georgia's top education leaders and policymakers will attend the College of Education's third annual State of the State of Education in Georgia Conference on Sept. 30 at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel. Continue

  • September 27, 2010

    Second annual Ljungdahl Lecture to be given by German microbiology professor

    Harold L. Drake, professor of ecological microbiology at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, will deliver the second annual Lars G. Ljungdahl Lecture at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 1 in Room C127 of the Davison Life Science Complex. Continue

  • September 27, 2010

    ‘Trojan horses’

    Trypanosomes are parasites responsible for ­African sleeping sickness, which results from the bite of infected tsetse flies and puts more than 60 million Africans in 36 sub-Saharan countries at risk. A team of researchers at UGA and the University of Glasgow has now shown just how one species of these parasites evades the human innate defenses.   Continue

  • September 27, 2010

    Study identifies critical ‘traffic engineer’ of nervous system

    A new UGA study published in the journal Nature has identified an enzyme that keeps the nervous system's traffic flowing in the right direction, which could eventually lead to new treatments for conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Continue

  • September 27, 2010

    UGA welcomes new faculty

    Below is an alphabetical listing of new tenured and tenure-track faculty who have arrived at the university this semester. They are in departments spread across 13 schools and colleges plus the Faculty of Engineering. The information was supplied by the Office of Faculty Affairs, which acts as a liaison between the university and the USG board of regents on matters related to faculty appointment, promotion and tenure. For more information about that office, see the Key Links section of the Provost's Office website: Continue

  • September 27, 2010

    Community service

    A new clinic at UGA, one of the first of its kind in the U.S., will provide residents of Athens-Clarke County and surrounding areas counseling services on a variety of topics, including individual and relationship issues, finances, housing and nutrition. Continue

  • September 27, 2010

    University takes steps to replenish faculty ranks with more than 70 new hires

    More than 70 new tenured and tenure-track faculty have arrived at the university this semester, with more on the way. While many are filling vacant positions, the numbers are nonetheless significant, said Provost Jere Morehead. Continue

  • September 27, 2010

    UGA researchers win $1.34 million DOE biofuels grant

    UGA researchers have won a $1.34 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to attempt to increase the productivity of trees by genetically modifying certain proteins critical to wood formation. The study could have important implications in using trees as biofuel. Continue

Columns is produced by the University of Georgia | Division of Marketing & Communications | Feedback