Children’s Express Newsmagazine: Campaign ‘88
South Carolina ETV Network, The Mosiac Group, Inc.
The 1988 presidential campaign was as much a campaign about the media as one waged in the media. Politicians, critics, and the public heaped criticism on the media for boiling down major speeches to 10second “sound bites” on the news. The candidates claimed they could not get their messages across to the people on one hand and that the “sound bite” practice forced them to build their talks around memorable phrases rather than ideas. Into this situation stepped an intrepid band of children with the intent of covering the campaign. Reporters and editors, all 13 years old or younger, researched and edited the complete news stories. Henry J. Cauthen and Harry Moses did a wonderful job of providing resources that the children needed and the children made the most of their opportunities. Because of their youth, candidates and campaign managers perceived them as no threat. They were wrong. Unlike their older counterparts, they would not accept glib but hollow explanations, and continually pinned down interview subjects when they tried to spout prepackaged answers. The interviews are lively and revealing and contain an iconoclastic innocence missing in most journalism today. For exceptional accomplishment in political reporting with a fresh point of view, a Peabody to Children’s Express NEWSMAGAZINE: Campaign ‘88.