Elections course takes students to Michigan primaries

Nine Medill students covered the Michigan primary elections on Feb. 28 as part of a special elections seminar. Their work, which includes print, video and audio stories as well as a Twitter tracker, can be found at

A few of the students took some time to reflect about their experiences in Michigan.

Eryn Rogers (BSJ12, MSJ12):

Why did you decide to take the class?
I took the class because I want to pursue a career in political reporting, but I wasn't doing the quarter in DC, so I thought this would be a great opportunity.

What stories did you cover in Michigan?
I covered a Ron Paul rally at Michigan State and focused on the youth vote and his popularity with youth voters. I also covered a story on the confusion over whether the primaries were open or closed for Michigan voters.

What have you taken from this class?
I learned how to cover politics in an engaging way.

David Unger (MSJ12):

Did you present your stories in ways you hadn’t before?
The night before the primary, Alma Bahman and I decided to try to use some of our newfangled JavaScript skills to put together a mini-site that tracked what Michiganders were talking about throughout the day.

I don't typically put much stock into social media, but as I watched the things people were saying on Twitter throughout the day, I realized that I was probably underestimating its value. It offers journalists an unprecedented glimpse into the lives and minds of ordinary people.

Alma Bahman (MSJ12):

What stories did you cover in Michigan?
I covered a Mitt Romney rally at Kettering University and a story about how bipartisanship reached the outermost fringes of Michiganders in a big way. I also examined Rick Santorum and what his campaign meant to Michigan.

What was the most memorable experience you had in Michigan?
The most memorable experience was working with my fellow Medill classmates on our stories in the hotel. It was real life, working late into the night, asking each other for opinions and bouncing ideas around. It was an individual, yet collaborative effort.

Do you think you will use any skills or knowledge from the class in your future career?
Absolutely. The most important thing I learned was to always have a question ready, just in case, because you never know who you'll have access to or get a hold of.