If the mark of a good journalist is getting to where the story is, then the current East West Center Jefferson Fellows are on the top of their game.
The group, mostly newspaper and broadcast journalists from Asia (plus one American newspaper writer/columnist) have been criss-crossing the United States in search of the true story of the 2008 presidential elections. You’d be amazed at who they “met.”
They’ve looked into immigration in Arizona, job loss and trade issues in Pennsylvania, the economy and the housing/mortgage crisis in Ohio and much more. All of it through the lens of the historic contest between Barack Obama and John McCain.
While most of their meetings have been with the people on the front lines of these deeply American issues, the Jeffs also found a way to get up close and fairly personal with the national campaigns themselves.
In Erie, PA, the journalists joined an enthusiastic rally featuring GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. It was small-town Americana at its best. Then in Cleveland, they joined a crowd estimated at 60,000 in a downtown plaza for Barack Obama rally that featured rocker Bruce Springsteen as a warm-up act.
In all, a lot of politics and a lot of policy over a tight few days. After another day and Election Night in the Rust Belt, the group is on to Washington D.C. for a look back at the presidential election that was.
(And check out the previous post for earlier reports from the travelling journalists!)