Scott Detrow and Sam Sanders of NPR Politics Visit Fels

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Meg Pierce, MPA '18
April 6, 2017

Journalists Scott Detrow and Sam Sanders, best known for their contributions to the NPR Politics Podcast, visited Fels last Friday as part of Fels’s Accepted Students Day. Prospective and current students were treated to a lively conversation on media and politics, moderated by Fels faculty member Buck Benedict.  

The discussion on the changing role of media since the 2016 elections was an NPR Politics fan’s dream—Detrow and Sanders spoke with the same acumen, hilarity and, slight cynicism that has garnered their podcast acclaim. In fact, NPR Politics had the most downloads of any political podcast in the country this year.

Under the steady and organized facilitation of Professor Benedict, Detrow and Sanders spoke candidly of their experiences on the presidential campaign trail and described how much their jobs have changed since 2016. Considering the nonstop and highly polarized nature of the current news cycle, Detrow and Sanders underlined the continued importance of journalistic integrity. Detrow said it best: “We’re here to tell people the facts, give them context, and let them draw their own conclusions.”

Detrow, an MPA candidate at Fels, also spoke to the value of the MPA degree in advancing his career. He consistently draws lessons from his Fels courses, which have allowed him to better understand government administration, budgeting, the policy process, and even public speaking.

Given the draining nature of the media cycle, especially for those immersed in MPA studies, Sanders offered the sage advice of consuming a “healthy media diet.” Rather than focusing one’s attention solely on the actions of the executive branch, he encouraged exploring podcasts and news outlets that report on other political, social, and cultural interests. Likewise, “there’s nothing wrong with watching trash TV!”

Given the timely nature of this event, many of the new Fels students in attendance will undoubtedly remember the conversation as the kickoff of a highly relevant and engaging MPA experience.

Fels Institute of Government

The Fels Institute of Government
3814 Walnut St. 
Philadelphia, PA 19104

(215) 898-7326

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