As one of the hosts of the nascent UNLV: Different, Daring, and Diverse podcast, Mallika Pal has already been hustling to broadcast debate-related stories. As it gets down to crunch time for the Oct. 19 event, she’s going to be pushing hard to make sure all angles get covered in the debate.
But first, that means working to reach students that may not be tuned in to what promises to be a historic night. She encourages her fellow students to set aside grumbling about the impact to parking the debate will have next week and focus on the incredibly rare opportunity it offers.
“What's actually happening is students are getting a whole new hands-on experience with politics and media in general,” she said. “I kind of wish (all students) would see that more. This is such a rare opportunity for UNLV that's happening. You should really utilize it. When's the next time you're going to be near a debate?”
For the senior journalism major, the challenge is in figuring out how to spread that awareness now, and come up with unique angles during and after the debate. It’s something the podcast is already starting to tackle, counting an interview with President Len Jessup among its earliest episodes.
Pal plans to spend debate night at a campus watch event, and then focus her efforts in the coming weeks on examining how the debate affected both students and the university’s overall profile.
“It will be cool to watch it on a big news station and see what they're saying about the campus, if even the campus is a focal point,” she said. She hopes a little of the spotlight will be on the broadcast resources in the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs’. “(As) a student journalist, we have so many cameras, we have soundproof studios — a lot of people don't see that. There are other schools that might be more well-known, but they don't have all these resources that we have. I think maybe getting more publicity, and people seeing what our media team can do (will benefit the university).”
The debate is a tremendous opportunity for student journalists. Not every campus gets to be the focus of international headlines, even for a night. It creates opportunity, but with that comes pressure.
It’s the kind of pressure Pal is eager to embrace.
“If you're a journalism student, you have these things down like interviewing, being able to film, capture audio,” she said. “When there's so much going on and you're feeling overwhelmed, I think it's going to be real interesting to see the students that learn from that. It's really good to get all these experiences now so when you go out into the world future, then you know what do.”