Presidential Debate/University Forum: Why Candidates Fear Presidential Debates


Sep. 27, 2016, 7:30pm to 9pm

Campus Location

Office/Remote Location

Greenspun Hall Auditorium, First Floor
Alan Schroeder 2015.jpg


As part of the UNLV Presidential Debate Lecture Series Alan Schroeder, professor at the Northeastern University School of Journalism in Boston, will present a talk titled: “Risky Business on the Campaign Trail: Why Candidates Fear Presidential Debates." 

On September 26, 1960, John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon met in a Chicago television studio for a seminal event in American history: the first presidential debate. Kennedy and Nixon inaugurated a new genre of political communication, one that now stands as a pre-election expectation, not only in the United States but also in much of the world.

Voters and journalists find much to like about presidential debates. For candidates, however, the tradition has been a mixed blessing. As that opening encounter demonstrated, Richard Nixon failed while JFK shone, for reasons beyond either man’s control. The legacy of Kennedy and Nixon has hovered over every presidential debater since, inspiring feelings of trepidation and resentment among the men and women who step into the arena. 

Schroeder is the author of several books: Presidential Debates: Risky Business on the Campaign Trail (Columbia University Press, 2016), as well as two previous editions, Presidential Debates: 50 Years of High-Risk TV (Columbia University Press, 2008) and Presidential Debates: 40 Years of High-Risk TV (Columbia University Press, 2000); Celebrity-in-Chief: How Show Business Took Over the White House (Westview Press, 2004); and a textbook, Writing and Producing Television News: From Newsroom to Air (Oxford University Press, 2008).

Schroeder has written about a variety of media-related topics for such outlets as the New York Times, Financial Times, Washington Post, Politico, Boston Globe, Huffington Post,, and the Guardian. His work in media and politics extends internationally. He has lectured about the global phenomenon of televised debates in Spain, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Colombia, and Peru, and he has testified before the British Parliament about debate structure and sponsorship. 

UNLV-TV will record the event and the video will be housed on the UNLV Libraries Digital Scholarship institutional repository. 

Admission Information

This event is free and open to the public.

Contact Information

Greenspun College of Urban Affairs
Afsha Bawany

External Sponsor

Co-sponsored by the University Forum Lecture Series at the College of Liberal Arts, the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs, UNLV Libraries, and the UNLV Presidential Debate
Campus Engagement Committee