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Writing and Reporting News, London, 5 -9 November, 2012: U.S. Middle East Foreign Policy Not Central to Election Outcome

Thu, 22 Nov 2012 12:47 GMT
Author: Royston Martin
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The headline to this report is just one of the millions published in the run up to the U.S. Presidential vote during Thomson Reuters Foundation's Writing and Reporting News course at Canary Wharf in November. Among the diverse opinions online, on air, and in print one thing professional media broadly agreed about the ballot was the election stood to be one of the tightest memory; too close to call. Although the headline may have been accurate Obama's subsequent victory called into question the usefulness and objectivity of some very well paid pollsters and commentators. After the longest and most expensive election campaign to date, Barack Obama was re-elected and despite America's weak economy, challenges abroad and high unemployment, voters returned incumbents to office in the White House and Congress, opted firmly for the the status quo, and kept much the same the balance of party power in Congress.

President Obama won re-election with unemployment at 7.9% - the highest any incumbent seeking re-election has faced since Franklin D Roosevelt. Bucking the trend though is not the same as earning the kind of mandate that will guarantee jobs at home and stability in the Middle East.

These issues were typical of the rich and diverse content explored during Writing and Reporting News. It was a good week- we had great students and plenty of events on going. From the elections in the United States, to the Kurt Schork Awards in London and the build up to Remembrance Sunday there was actual news happening which helped ensure our colleagues from countries diverse as Egypt, Nepal and Swaziland worked in an inspiring collective atmosphere. Maybe the last word should go to Omni Television's Candy Chan from Canada whose  reflections on the week provided a nice summary:

"It’s a wonderful opportunity for journalists who want to learn from other experienced journalists, to discover their strength and weakness and simply have fun." 

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