University Hosts First-Ever Live U.S. Senatorial Debate

University Hosts First-Ever Live U.S. Senatorial Debate

Partnership with WAVY-TV 10 Leads to Weeklong Series Highlighting NSU

senatorial-debate.jpgThe U.S. Senatorial Debate between Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and the Republican challenger, Daniel Gade, Ph.D., held at the L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center, marked the first time in the University’s 85-year history that it hosted a live U.S. Senatorial Debate. This second political exchange between Gade and Warner focused on racial disparities and inequities in education, healthcare, economic mobility and the criminal justice system. It was held live Sat., October 3, before invited guests and was broadcast statewide Mon., Oct. 5 on WAVY-TV 10 and WAVY.com.

The University and its Center for African American Public Policy (CAAmPP) partnered with WAVY-TV 10, an NBC-affiliate and Nexstar Media Group station, The Virginia Bar Association, and Visit Norfolk to host the 90-minute debate. It was moderated by WAVY-TV 10 journalists Anita Blanton and NSU alumna Regina Mobley. 

As part of the agreement, WAVY aired several special features that showcased the University and its impact in the Hampton Roads community during the week leading up to the debate. Reporter Kara Dixon traced the NSU legacy through the following stories:

When the debate aired on Oct. 5, Norfolk State students had the opportunity to demonstrate their grasp of consequential national issues. They asked questions centered on housing and evictions, college loan debt and historically Black college and university funding to television viewers across the Commonwealth and debate watchers on social media. View   Questions asked by students, partners during Virginia Senate debate and candidate responses.

As a result of the partnership, Norfolk State University’s news coverage related to the debate (pre-and post-debate) appeared in more than 200 news outlets (print, television and radio) and reached millions of individuals across the state and country. Stories about the debate were featured in The Washington Post, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Tennessee Star, Roanoke Times, The Washington Times, Associated Press, Yahoo News and others. 

According to Nielsen research, the debate was viewed in 28,535 households in the Norfolk market and beat out popular programming that included "American Ninja Warrior" and even the Joe Biden Town Hall on MSNBC ― everything except for the 6 p.m. news broadcasts on competing stations. The debate held a steady 4.7 rating on Nielsen during the broadcast. In addition, the debate has received more than 100,000 views.