Shorenstein Center hosts panel on impact of Internet on democracy

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August 13, 2000, 11:42 am

August 13, 2000 — The day before the Democratic National Convention, Los Angeles’s Regal Biltmore Hotel was the site of a panel on the impact of the Internet on democracy, hosted by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.

During the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, much attention was paid to the emergence of the Internet in politics. Now, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, leading new media executives, journalists, and experts will go beyond the initial intrigue and discuss what the parties and media organizations actually did on the Web in Philadelphia.

The panel discussed the impact of information technology on elections, the conventions, and the media. New survey research by the Center’s Vanishing Voter Project was released, detailing the public’s online use during the Philadelphia convention. In addition, the Center released a critical appraisal of the new media’s notable successes and plentiful failures during the GOP convention. The appraisal, conducted by Michael Cornfield of George Washington University, analyzes 20 major political Web sites, including Voter.com, Pseudo.com, MSNBC, and GOP.net.

Led by moderator Marvin Kalb, Executive Director of the Center’s Washington office, and Center director Alex S. Jones, panelists explored the importance of online political information in this election, if and how Web communication by candidates and parties is affecting democracy, and the relationship between the Internet and traditional media. Panelists included:

  • Time Warner, Inc. Chairman Gerald Levin
  • CBS Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer
  • Political Columnist Joe Klein
  • Slate Magazine Editor Michael Kinsley
  • PopandPolitics.com Editor Farai Chideya
  • Edventure Holdings Chairman Esther Dyson
  • Garage.com Chairman Guy Kawasaki

The Shorenstein Center is a 14-year-old research organization that focuses on how the media affects politics and public policy. Philanthropist Walter H. Shorenstein is co-hosting the event. Since November, the Vanishing Voter Project has been conducting weekly surveys to assess public involvement in the 2000 campaign, including its interest in key events such as the conventions.