AU Hosts Alums Plus Some for Media Panel

What do NBC’s “Meet the Press” host David Gregory and Congress Daily’s Erin McPike have in common? Both are American University alum and both participated in an “American Forum” panel last night at their old stomping grounds.

HuffPost’s Jose Antonio Vargas, Mother Jones’s and’s David Corn, and The Winston Group’s David Winston rounded out the panel, which discussed President Obama’s connection to youth.

“I can tell you editors look down on covering young people,” said Vargas. “We want the information. Give us the content.” Corn pointed out that focusing on important issues – no matter how noble – simply doesn’t grab eyeballs and ears – something even more critical in the survival of the fittest media landscape. “Anything involving Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney, sex,– hopefully all three — goes through the roof,” joked Corn about the stories that reel in readers and viewers.

When moderator Jane Hall pressed Gregory to weigh in on whether Obama is overexposed, Gregory joked “I don’t like to say ‘overexposure’ because I am in the business of overexposure.”

Photo of Gregory, Vargas and Hall courtesy of AU.

Vargas also pointed out that America has experienced a radical change in youth engagement that can be tapped, and pointed to the example that “No on Prop 8” movement in favor of gay marriage in California was executed not by the established gay activist groups, but by the grassroots efforts of young people. He added that he thought the media needed to do a better job covering issues important to young people, and showing how broader issues impact young people.

The American Forum, a coproduction of AU’s School of Communication and WAMU 88.5, tackles issues of interest to young people in media and society.