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Veteran Washington correspondent Chuck Raasch offers insider’s perspective to students

Jan 31, 2017

During a student lecture on Tuesday, Washington correspondent Chuck Raasch shared with Flagler students the change he’s witnessed in the media landscape over his 30-plus years of experience, and the division that marks Washington politics.

His morning talk was part of his visit as this evening’s speaker for the college’s Forum on Government and Public Policy. Tonight he will be giving a talk titled ““After the guns go silent, and the ballots are cast,” based on his 2016 book,” An Imperfect Union, A Father’s Search for his son in the Aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg.”

Raasch’s morning visit was mostly a student-questions driven exchange. He engaged students by first surveying their opinions: “How do you get your information? How do you know which news sources to trust?”

His questions prompted a discussion about the rise of online media, and of “fake news.”

“Trust your instincts,” Raasch said. “If the story sounds too wild to be true, dig deeper. And don’t retweet things that are false. We need to react in a sober way.”

Another topic he addressed is the gridlock that plagues Washington. When Raasch asked students how many of them had friends that were “ideologically opposed,” most raised their hands.

“What you are experiencing is exactly what’s happening in Washington right now,” he said. “People on opposite sides are refusing to speak to each other, but we need to. I encourage you to read what your friends are reading, and to ask them to do the same for you.”

One of the final points that Raasch emphasized was the importance of writing well.

“Whether you study public policy, journalism, biology or any other field, your ability to sit down and write a clear paragraph, beyond 140 characters, will separate you from others,” he said.

Raasch is a Washington columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He has also worked as a senior correspondent and columnist for the Gannett News Service (GNS) and as a national correspondent for USA Today. From 1989 to 1990, he served as a Knight Fellow at Stanford University. A native South Dakotan, Raasch began his career with Gannett at the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls in 1977, where he covered politics. His major assignments included Sen. George McGovern's last Senate race in 1980. He wrote a political column for 20 years, has covered six presidential elections and has had bylines from 49 states and four continents. He is a graduate of South Dakota State University.

Raach’s evening talk, free and open to the public, will be held tonight in Lewis Auditorium, 14 Granada St., at 7 p.m. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information on Forum talks, visit here.

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