The Poll With A Human Face: The National Issues Convention Experiment in Political Communication

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Overview

In 1996, the National Issues Convention (NIC) assembled a national sample of 459 Americans on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. This diverse group of Americans was seen and heard nationally. They spent three days in small group discussions of major public issues and participated in two live PBS telecasts moderated by Jim Lehrer where they questioned Vice President Al Gore and four contenders for the Republican presidential nomination. This experiment in democracy was an innovative step that engaged the ongoing debate about mass communication and democracy.

The Poll With a Human Face details this innovative event, the arguments and logic behind it, the experiences of the delegates and journalists involved in the NIC, and social science research analyzing the news coverage and its effects. This book is both a specific case study of the NIC and a broad scale contribution to the discipline of political communication.

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface
Pt. I The National Issues Convention 1
1 Bringing Deliberation to the Democratic Dialogue 3
2 The Delegates' Experience 39
3 We the People: The Contours of Lay Political Discourse 59
Pt. II The News Media 85
4 Through the Eyes of a True Believer 87
5 A (Largely Missed) Learning Opportunity 105
6 Local Television Coverage of the NIC 113
7 Prologue to Diverging Patterns of Election Year Coverage 133
8 Effects of NIC Media Coverage Among the Public 145
Pt. III The Larger Setting 167
9 Deliberative Polling - Fitting the Tool to the Job 169
10 The Cultivation of Conversation 187
11 Enhancing Grassroots Democracy 211
App. A Interviewer-Administered Questionnaire 221
App. B Self-Administered Questionnaire 237
App. C The National Issues Convention Schedule 251
Contributors 255
Author Index 259
Subject Index 263
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