Syracuse University

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Students from Newhouse School keep tabs on local politics, upcoming elections

September 30, 2009

Wendy S. Loughlin
(315) 443-2785

Under the tutelage of veteran political reporter Charlotte Grimes, Knight Chair in Political Reporting at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, a group of Newhouse students is reporting on Syracuse politics and filing their stories with the school’s news-based website, Democracywise.

Recent topics have included Syracuse mayoral candidates; voting by absentee ballot; election inspectors; registering to vote; and a series of pieces on “Voters’ Voices ’09,” which provides an overview of the local political sentiment going into election season.

“This is real-world experience for the students and their work will enrich political coverage for our elections,” says Grimes. “Democracywise is also meant to be one-stopping shopping for the public to learn about candidates, races and issues.”

An experimental website intended to help people engage in politics and public affairs, Democracywise offers basic knowledge and information—from stories about candidates and issues to a democracy toolkit on the nuts and bolts of registering to vote.

Students reporting for Democracywise this year include Brian Amaral, Abram Brown, Lynette Chen, Steve Doane, Shardé Edwards, Brett LoGiurato, Silvia Milanova, Michelle San Miguel, Dan Scorpio, Jessica Shaw, Chris Shepherd and Julia Terruso.

Liam Migdail-Smith, who reported for Democracywise in spring 2008, maintains and updates the site’s Races & Candidates section, the political calendar and the democracy toolkit, including a growing dictionary of political and government terms.

Grimes spent 20 years as a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, including 12 years with its Washington bureau. She covered the Democratic national conventions of 1984 and 1988, and the Republican national conventions of 1992 and 1996; the Missouri and Southern Illinois congressional delegations; the politics and policy of health care and international trade; the U.S. invasion of Panama; and the United Nations during the first Persian Gulf War, among other stories.

For more information about Democracywise, contact Grimes at (315) 443-2366 or

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