MSNBC News Correspondent Katy Tur visited the University of Nevada, Reno, on Tuesday, Oct. 9, to broadcast the second leg of the Battleground College Tour — a live MSNBC program filmed at several campuses across the nation to hear what students care about when taking to the polls this election season.
The broadcast started ran from 11 a.m. until noon. Tur interviewed students from the crowd, as well as three featured student guests — Carlos Perez Campbell of the Young Dems, Mike Brooks of College Republican and Madeline Purdue of the Nevada Sagebrush.
The university was one of just five college campuses featured on the Battleground College Tour. The first stop was at the University of California, Los Angeles on Monday, Oct. 8. After stopping in Reno, Nev., the tour is to continue to Purdue University, Washington University in St. Louis and University of South Florida, Tampa.
On the tour, Tur sought answers to whether or not college students are more politically involved than they were in prior election years and why. In addition, Tur looked to see what issues they care about.
“The reason we’re here is because we wanna know if you’re more motivated today than you were four years ago,” Tur said. “I mean obviously four years ago you weren’t voting but are students today more motivated to get out and vote and if so, why?”
Tur also focused on what issues college student in Nevada care about.
“Are [students] talking about all the national issues that we’re so focused on?” Tur questioned. “Or are [students] talking about health care, and talking about employment, or immigration; things that are more localized here in Nevada than we might think you’re paying attention to when we’re talking in New York or Washington D.C.”
The show visited the University of Nevada, Reno, because Nevada is a “purple state” — more commonly known as a swing state — meaning the vote is not historically decided and could lean either Democrat or Republican.
“The University of Reno is a really interesting place because you guys are in a purple state,” Tur said. “Hillary Clinton won here in 2016, you have a Republican senator who’s up for reelection, he’s the only Republican senator who’s up for reelection in a state that Hillary Clinton won, what does that mean for him?”
Tur encouraged students to vote before the broadcast, asking the crowd to cheer if they are registered to vote, and cheer again if they are going to vote in the midterm election.
“The students vote can make all of the difference! I mean there’s millions of students all across the country,” said Tur.
Before the live broadcast, Tur spoke with students of the Reynolds School of Journalism and answered their questions on how to be an unbiased journalist.
“I think our job as a journalist is not only to get all sides but to also contextualize them and to fact-check when you need to fact-check, to push back where you should push back, not just be a stenographer for a political campaign or a stenographer for certain viewpoints,” Tur said.
In addition to being unbiased, Tur stressed the need to be fair and balanced, including involving multiple perspectives.
But when it came to fairness, Tur stated, “It’s a false equivalence, the idea of fairness and balance… I mean it’s a great promo, it’s a great way to claim you’re being unbiased or nonpartisan. But at the same time there are often more than two sides to every story.”
Tur emphasised the importance of regional, local and campus press reporting on issues that occur on a community level rather than national.
“Issues come from the ground up,” Tur said. “[Local press] are covering things that I don’t have time to cover on national broadcast. [Local press is] covering local issues, you’re covering housing, you’re covering potholes, you’re covering crime. I mean [these are] things that don’t make it to the national level and it’s exactly what people in that community need.”
While Tur believes students have the power to change an election, students can only do so if they take to the polls.
Tur’s visit marked the final day to register to vote by mail or with an outside agency, according to the Washoe County registrar of voters. However, voter registration can still take place in person until Tuesday, Oct. 16.