MS 1125 - National Conventions Project Program
|MS 1125 - National Conventions Project Program
|BGSU Centennial History
The National Conventions Project (NCP) collection contains documents spanning from 1953 to 2004 with the majority of materials focusing on the national conventions of 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, and 2000. The NCP was founded, taught, and directed by two former Bowling Green State University (BGSU) professors, Drs William Spragens and Emil Dansker, with the purpose of offering students internship experience at news media covering the Democratic National Conventions (DNC) and Republican National Conventions (RNC). The activities and events of the NCP are realized through outgoing and incoming correspondences, as well as documents detailing student expectations and news releases describing the history of the NCP. In addition, this collection contains news articles written by the students and Dr. Dansker, resources collected from the national conventions, and other printed materials produced around the DNC and RNC.
This collection was donated to the Center for Archival Collections by Dr. Emil Dansker on July 2nd, 2009. No restrictions exist on the use of this collection. Duplication is permitted for the purposes of preservation and research. This register was prepared by Matt Kilmer in June 2013.
The National Conventions Project was a summer university course created in 1972 by Dr. William Spragens, a professor of political science at BGSU since 1969. The purpose of this course was to provide students with field work at the national conventions, but Spragens was left unsatisfied with the limited access he was able to procure his students. Spragens enlisted the assistance of Dr. Emil Dansker, a professor of journalism at BGSU, for the 1976 conventions. This collaboration gave students the opportunity to work under the direction of news media covering the DNC and RNC, such as newspapers and radio.
In 1986, Spragens retired and Dansker moved the NCP to Central State University (CSU) after leaving BGSU. CSU was too small to sustain a substantial group size, so he made arrangements with other universities, both in and outside of Ohio, to increase the scope and reach of the NCP. In addition to CSU, students from BGSU, the University of Toledo, Ohio University, Ohio State University, Northwestern University, and Hamilton College were given the chance to work at the conventions.
Besides some assistance in finding housing and employment, the student participants were primarily responsible for finding their way to and from the conventions and managing their time effectively for the benefit of their employers. The types of jobs students were expected to do included working as messengers for the Associated Press and writing articles for weekly and daily newspapers. Nevertheless, Spragens and Dansker were not the kind to merely throw their students into the workforce without any guidance. A series of lectures, guest speakers, and a week of orientation were provided with the intention of preparing them for the conventions.
The success of the NCP led to several spin-off programs meant to provide students with additional practice. The Presidential Inauguration Project, for example, offered them the opportunity to work for news media covering the inaugurations. Likewise, the Olympics Project sent several students off to accomplish much of the same at the Olympic Games.
|Scope and Content
The National Conventions Project collection contains both incoming and outing correspondence (1975-2000). The majority of these correspondence are related to the NCP in some regard. For example, most of the outgoing correspondence detail Dansker’s effort to promote the project and acquire internships for his students. The incoming correspondence are from editors, students, or, to a lesser extent, university administrators responding to Dansker’s enquiries or asking questions of their own. The correspondence are one of the more extensive and complete aspects of this collection.
This collection also contains an informative variety of subject files, such as course files (1976-2000), assignments (1980, 1984), budget information (1980, 1992-1993), and housing (1980-2000). The course files include class syllabuses, bibliographies, workshop proposals, and instructive information for students.
Media credentials (1976-2000) include the requests for accreditation to both the DNC and RNC. Furthermore, the responses from accrediting bodies are also provided. These letters offer a comprehensive look at which newspapers were interested in covering the conventions. Furthermore, physical copies of press credentials (1976-1992) are available to peruse.
Documents from spin-off programs, such as the Olympics Project (1984-1996) and Presidential Inauguration Project (1982-1993) are made available in this collection. In addition, papers from organizations which Dansker associated with while working on the NCP are also accessible. These include, but are not limited to, the News Election Service (1976-1984) and the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (1988-2000).
The NCP’s literary productions are available for examination. These include the rough drafts of news articles (1980-1996) written by the students and Dankser. News snippets for the radio station KUTY (1984-1992) are also provided. Finally, rough drafts of interviews (1984-1992) conducted by the students top off this section.
The NCP collection contains a handsome variety of documents taken from the conventions. These are divided by convention year and party affiliation and span from 1976 to 2000. Documents include press releases, guide books, media information guides, delegate selection procedures, rolls of delegates, fact books, convention folders, calendars of events, press kits, and telephone service handbooks. Furthermore, this collection also contains a CNN poll of delegates(1988) identification cards (1992) and rough drafts of new articles focusing on the NCP (1976-1996).
A sizable assortment of magazines and journals can be found within this collection, with one dating back to 1952, but the majority falling within 1976-2004. These include Time Magazine, Congressional Quarterly, Gannetteer, First Monday: The Republican Magazine, Columbia Journalism Review, Campaigns & Elections, Newsweek, Rising Tide, US News & World Report, and the Nation. One may also find several newspapers (1980-2000) which were released during the convention.
Photographs (1976-1996) can be found at the end of this collection as well as artifacts (1992-2004). These artifacts include bumper stickers, trading cards, and post cards, as well as items from the conventions.
National Conventions Project – Course Files
National Conventions Project – Fundraisers
Media Credentials – Requests/Responses
Election Experience Program
Presidential Inauguration Project
The White House – Office of the Press Secretary
News Election Service
Department of the Treasury – United States Secret Service
The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars
News Articles – Rough Drafts
KUTY Broadcasts – Rough Drafts
Interviews – Rough Drafts
Republican National Conventions
Democratic National Conventions
CNN Poll – Democratic Delegate Survey
News Releases – re: National Conventions Project
Magazines and Journals
Pacific Bell Folder