Fresh off reporting about the economic crisis and the presidential debates, veteran broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff will visit West Virginia University Thursday (Oct. 16) to discuss the media and politics.

Woodruff, who has covered politics and news for more than three decades at PBS , CNN and NBC including eight presidential raceswill take a look at the evolution of American politics and media coverage when she speaks at 7:30 p.m. in Ming Hsieh Hall, Room G20 , on the Downtown Campus. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions, and a reception will follow in the ground floor hallway.

Woodruffs presentation, which is free and open to the public, is part of Engage 08, a unique, campuswide WVU student initiative to raise political awareness and energize young voters during this historic election year. Other Engage 08 events range from a presidential debate watch party to a Faculty Dinner Series lecture by author and WVU professor Bob DiClerico, a nationally recognized political expert. (A complete Engage 08 schedule is listed below.)

Woodruffs talk will draw from major national and international stories and provide an inside perspective of the politics in play. Using todays political headlines as a starting point, she will place the days events not only in a historical context, but also clarify what they could mean to the elections outcomeand how that will shape and influence the countrys future.

A trusted journalist, Woodruff has covered many of the major events of the last 30 years, including the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and Centennial Olympic Park bombing. She is currently a senior correspondent for PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrerand is the editor of the shows 2008 election coverage.

She also anchors a monthly program for Bloomberg Television,Conversations with Judy Woodruff,and she served as executive editor ofGeneration Next: Speak Up. Be Heard.,a documentary project that involved interviewing young Americans and reporting on their views.

For 12 years, Woodruff served as anchor and senior correspondent for CNN , anchoring the weekday political program,Inside Politics.Woodruff also played a central role in the networks political coverage and other major news stories.

From 1983-93, she was the chief Washington correspondent forThe MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHourat PBS , and from 1984-90, she also anchored PBS award-winning weekly documentary series,Frontline with Judy Woodruff.

At NBC News, Woodruff served as White House correspondent from 1977-82. For one year after that, she served as NBC sToday Showchief Washington correspondent.

Besides her work in journalism, Woodruff is the author ofThis is Judy Woodruff at the White House,and she was a visiting professor at Duke Universitys Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policyteaching a weekly seminar course on media and politicsand a visiting fellow at Harvard Universitys Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, where she led a study group for students on contemporary issues in journalism.

Woodruff is a founding co-chair of the International Womens Media Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting and encouraging women in communication industries worldwide. She serves on the boards of trustees of the Freedom Forum and Global Rights: Partners for Justice and in 2005 became a member of The Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and the Board of the National Museum of American History. Woodruff is a graduate of Duke University, where she is a trustee emerita.

With decades of broadcast experience and coverage of eight presidential elections, Judy Woodruff is one of the best in TV news,said interim WVU President C. Peter Magrath.Her experience in the press and politics provides a unique learning opportunity for our students and faculty. We are excited to welcome her to campus to share some of what shes learned over the years as a journalist and get our students thinking in new ways about the role of journalism in our democracy.

Student Government Association President Jason Parsons, who is leading WVU s Engage 08 efforts, said he looks forward to hearing about her take on reporting and interaction with the Washington political scene.

Im very excited about this program surrounding the election,Parsons said.SGA has dedicated a lot of time and energy into developing this program to allow for a lively and informed discussion on the candidates and the issues surrounding the 2008 presidential election. Welcoming Judy Woodruff to campus will be a great way to cap off the program, and Ms. Woodruff, with her depth and breadth of experience in presidential politics, will add a significant voice to the dialogue on campus.

Engage 08: Your vote. Your voice.

Engage 08, WVU s student-driven initiative to get young people engaged in the political process, includes a series of events, Web site ( http://engage08.wvu.edu/ ) and blog.

SGA is spearheading this effort and encouraging students to voice their opinions about the presidential and vice presidential debates and hot topics such as the economy, health care and the war in Iraq.

The site also includes aRock the Votelink, which directs students to a voter registration form, and a place where students can submit what they believe is the most important question of the election.

Upcoming Engage 08 events are as follows:

  • Oct. 14Young Democrats debate, 7-9 p.m. in 202 Brooks Hall. The topic will be foreign policy. Sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists.
  • Oct. 15Presidential debate watch party, Mountainlair food court. Sponsored by SGA .
  • Oct.15First day of early voting in West Virginia; visit www.wvsos.com for more information.
  • Oct. 20-Nov 1 SGA will be offering buses to early voting polling places.
  • Oct. 30Town hall debate, 7-9 p.m. The debate will take questions from the audience as well as questions submitted by The Daily Athenaeum. Sponsored by The Daily Athenaeum.
  • Oct. 31-Nov 2Political movie series:RecountandSwing Vote,Gluck Theatre. Check the Gluck for show times.
  • Nov. 4Election watch party, 7 p.m., Mountainlair food court. Watch returns on a big TV screen.

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