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Beyond the Hype and Headlines: Election Panel Nov 12

The 2016 elections matter more than you think. This event is part of the David C. Hardesty Jr. Festival of Ideas and is co-sponsored by the WVU Reed College of Media.

While Donald Trump’s tweets and Hillary Clinton’s emails have dominated the headlines, there is actually much more at stake in the upcoming presidential election — issues that will help define our country’s course for current and future generations. A distinguished panel of Washington journalists and pundits from across the political spectrum will discuss why 2016 could be one of the most important elections in our lifetime.

The panel event will be held Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. in Room 202 Brooks Hall. This event is free and open to the public.

Live streaming webcast at


Michael TomaskyMichael Tomasky (BSJ, 1982) @mtomasky, who will moderate the panel, is a special correspondent for The Daily Beast, the news website that reaches more than 20 million visitors a month. He writes two columns a week on politics and public affairs, covering both domestic and foreign policy. In addition, he is the editor of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, a leading quarterly journal of policy and ideas based in Washington, D.C. He is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, where he writes on the Washington political scene. His work has also appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Nation, The New Republic and numerous other publications. Tomasky is also a frequent commentator on MSNBC and other television and radio outlets. He is the author of three books: “Left for Dead” (1996), “Hillary’s Turn” (2001), and the 2014 e-book “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Beatles and America, Then and Now.” A native of Morgantown, West Virginia, Tomasky graduated from the Reed College of Media in 1982 and earned a master’s degree from New York University in 1985.


Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) is chief political correspondent for Slate Magazine where he writes on national politics. He is based in Washington, D.C., and his work has appeared in The American Prospect, The Daily Beast, The Atlantic, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and The New Yorker online. Bouie is a native of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and attended the University of Virginia, where he graduated with degrees in political and social thought and government.

Ezra KleinEzra Klein (@ezraklein) is founder and editor in chief of — a site dedicated to explaining the news. Launched in April 2014, Vox has grown at a startling rate: it now receives more than 20 million unique visitors monthly and leads Comscore’s politics category. Vox was the first online-only news publication to land an interview with President Obama. Klein is also a policy analyst for MSNBC. Prior to starting, he oversaw The Washington Post’s “Wonkblog” and was a columnist for Bloomberg News. In 2012, GQ named him to their “50 Most Powerful People in Washington.” In 2014, Vanity Fair named him one of the media’s “new disrupters.”

Paige LavenderPaige Lavender (BSJ, 2011) @paigelav is senior politics editor at The Huffington Post. After graduating from WVU College of Media in 2011, the West Virginian took a job with The Huffington Post in Washington, D.C. As one of the website’s politics editors, Lavender helped coordinate coverage of the 2012 elections. She currently focuses on politics and breaking news and helps with coverage of Congress, the president and political news around the nation, including the 2016 elections. Lavender is currently pursuing her master’s degree in interactive journalism at American University.

Mercedes SchlappMercedes Schlapp (@mercedesschlapp) is a political commentator, blogger and former director of Specialty Media for President George W. Bush in the White House. She frequently appears on FOX News, FOX Business, MSNBC, PBS and CNN as a Republican strategist. A first generation Cuban-American and raised in Miami, Florida, she is fluent in Spanish and also provides political commentary for Univision, Telemundo, CNN en Español and national Spanish radio. Schlapp is currently a contributor to U.S. News and World Report. She is the co-founder of Cove Strategies, a governmental and public affairs firm based in Alexandria, Virginia.

About Festival

Festival of Ideas was created in 1995 by former University president David C. Hardesty Jr. It was inspired by events he organized as WVU’s student body president in the 1960s. Today, the lecture series spans the academic year and brings a diverse group of newsmakers, public figures, and thought leaders – along with WVU’s own superstars – to campus to engage the community in important issues of the day.The David C. Hardesty Jr. Festival of Ideas was created in 1995 by former WVU president David C. Hardesty Jr. and is produced by University Events. It was inspired by events he organized as WVU’s student body president in the 1960s. Today, the lecture series spans the academic year and engages a diverse group of newsmakers, public figures, thought leaders and WVU’s own superstars.