George Mason University
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George Mason University

Professor Pearlstein’s Honors 131 course welcomes journalist Doyle McManus

November 15, 2018

Professor Pearlstein’s Honors 131 speaker series hosted reporter Doyle McManus. The speaker series runs in conjuncture with Pearlstein’s Honors 131 class on congressional elections, and McManus came to talk to the students about political campaign reporting.  

Professor Pearlstein facilitates student discussion with news reporter Doyle McManusMcManus has worked for the Los Angeles Times for over forty years, covering every presidential election since 1984. He is currently the director of a journalism program at Georgetown University. Pearlstein, a fellow reporter, had compelling questions to ask McManus that shed light on political reporting in today’s age of “fake news.” 

McManus discussed the difficulties of reporting on congressional races, like how candidates can be standoffish when it comes to reporters. The journalist also detailed the specific steps it takes to report on a race in a different state. He explained the research required before flying out to talk with the candidates and various community leaders, clarifying journalistic etiquette and how the writing process ends up being quite short in comparison to all the work beforehand.  

Students in Pearlstein’s class are following a specific house race in the suburbs of Los Angeles and got to ask McManus questions about the race. The Los Angeles Times reporter used his expertise to explain confusing situations, like why an incumbent official might be staying out of the news to help themselves win. 

Honors 131 students listen to journalist McManus explore bias in news reportingPearlstein and McManus explored what “bias” means in political reporting, and both insisted that journalists want to maintain their professional integrity and refrain from partisan reporting. 

This is especially pertinent in an era when reporters and news are frequently mischaracterized. 

McManus’ clear passion for journalism informed students and others attending on the importance of reporting during election season.

Reporting and photography by Madison Heilmeier.