Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and Journalist Richard Benedetto to Speak at Methodist University

Former White House Correspondent Richard Benedetto will visit Methodist University the week of Sept. 26 as a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow. His visit will include a Presidential Lecture Series talk, which will be free and open to the public at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27, in the Physician Assistant Medical Lecture Hall. The rest of his schedule will consist of activities only for the campus community, including classroom visits, a viewing party of the first presidential debate, and an interview on MU’s Internet-broadcast radio station.

For more than 35 years, the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program has brought prominent artists, diplomats, journalists, business leaders, and other nonacademic professionals to campuses across the United States for substantive dialogue with students and faculty members. Through a week-long residential program of classes, seminars, workshops, lectures, and informal discussions, the Fellows create better understanding and new connections between the academic and nonacademic worlds.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Mr. Benedetto’s credentials on our campus at such an opportune time,” said President Ben Hancock. “His lectures and interactions with the greater University community will help us appreciate the key issues in the national election.”

On Monday, Sept. 26, there will be a welcome event for Benedetto at 11 a.m. in Yarborough Auditorium in Clark Hall to open the week. In the evening, there will be a campus viewing party in Berns Student Center for the first U.S. presidential debate of the election, beginning with a short introduction to the debate at 8:45 p.m., hosted by Associate Professor of Political Science Christopher Cronin. Afterward, there will be a question and answer session with Benedetto, moderated by Dr. Cronin.

“This is a rare opportunity to experience and discuss the presidential debate alongside a well-known Washington insider,” Cronin said.

On Tuesday, Sept. 27, the Presidential Lecture Series event will begin at 7 p.m. in the Physician Assistant Medical Lecture Hall, with a reception following. Benedetto will speak on “Politics and the Media,” followed by a question and answer session moderated by Dr. Hancock. This event is open to the public, but with limited seating. Guests are asked to RSVP to events@methodist.edu.

On Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 3:30 p.m., Benedetto will be interviewed on MU Radio by Mass Communications Chair Dr. Kevin Swift and students in the program. MU Radio is broadcast online, and listeners can tune in through methodist.edu/radio.

Monday through Thursday, Benedetto will also be visiting a variety of classes to speak on various related topics.

“We are pleased Mr. Benedetto will be visiting Methodist University and speaking to students in a number of business, mass communications, and political science courses about his experiences as a journalist, how political campaigns have changed, and the ethics of mass communication and journalism,” said Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Beth Carter.

About Benedetto

Richard Benedetto is a retired White House Correspondent/columnist for “USA TODAY” and former political columnist for the Gannett News Service. He reported on government and politics on the local, state, and national levels for nearly 40 years. He continues his involvement in journalism as a consultant for C-SPAN, writing political commentary for various publications and teaching journalism in Washington, D.C.

Benedetto is a founding staff member of “USA TODAY,” joining the newspaper in 1982 prior to its debut. He wrote the national newspaper’s first Page One cover story. In addition to reporting on the White House and national politics, he wrote a weekly political column for the Gannett News Service, which serves Gannett Co. Inc.'s 89 daily newspapers and the USATODAY.com website. He covered the presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He also covered every presidential campaign from 1984-2004 and every national political convention since 1976. 

University Press of America published Benedetto’s memoir of his long reporting career, “Politicians Are People, Too,” in May 2006. Benedetto received numerous journalism awards and was honored in 1998 with the National Italian American Foundation Media Award for his projection of a positive image for Italian Americans.

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