Q&A with Newsweek Editor Jonathan Alter

By Daniel Temple

Sept 29, 2008- Jonathan Alter, senior editor at Newsweek and best-selling author, was at Whitley Auditorium today, to hold a question-and-answer session for students, faculty and residents of Elon.

Dr. Eke with Jonathan Alter (on right)

Dr. Eke with Jonathan Alter (on right)

Alter fielded a number of questions from moderator Ocek Eke, an assistant professor at Elon, along with several questions from students. Among the topics discussed was the rejected $700 billion bailout plan, the upcoming presidential election and the American voting process.

Regarding the recently rejected bailout plan, Alter called the move “stunning”. He estimated that the move could cause the largest drop in the history of the New York Stock Exchange. When asked why the plan was rejected, Alter cited a number of political reasons, and was not shy at expressing his displeasure at the decision.

“This move smelled like a dead fish,” quipped Alter. “It just stunk in the nostrils of the American people.”

Alter placed the primary blame on United States Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, or “King Henry” as Alter referred to him. Alter claimed that Paulson failed in properly selling the proposal, citing that the plan was “not defined as it should have been” and that the original plan was a mere 3 pages long.

Alter then went on to talk about the upcoming election and how it differed from previous elections. Alter discussed how younger generations would have a significant impact on the election, and that online networks and media have changed the way campaigns are run.

There are many differences about this election,” said Alter. “The first one is that your generation is engaged like never before.”

Alter then shifted topics with a student question about the American voting process. Alter hotly objected to the current voting standards in some places, citing a recent court case that ruled in order to be eligible to vote in Indiana, one must possesses a passport or driver’s license.

He believes that the current voting problems have less to do with machinery than they do with restrictions like that in Indiana. “I think that because of this recent court decision,” sais Alter. “A considerable amount of eligible voters would be prevented from voting.”

Alter continued to field a number of questions ranging from a variety of topics. He stated that Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin is effective on the attack, but that he questioned her overall political intelligence. He also laid out his ideal quantities in a president, believing that leadership and temperament were most essential in a quality candidate.

He closed with some advice for communications students. “Basic reverence for the truth is the most important thing,” he said. “It’s very easy for journalists to get sidetracked… but you actually have a higher obligation, and that is to the truth.”


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One Comment on “Q&A with Newsweek Editor Jonathan Alter”

  1. Janna Says:

    Hobie, you have a good mix of still photos and video along with your writing here – true multiplatform work. You need to copy edit the story again. Be sure to refer to Eke by his full name – He is Ocek Eke. Also, you are not using the correct punctuation on the direct quotations. You need to put a period after the attribution when the next chunk of direct quotation starts with a capital letter. The first sentence of the last paragraph is missing an “s” on students.

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