Forever Green
Campaign for Northwest
A-Z Index

News Release

March 24, 2016

Political journalism students to host town hall March 29

A special topics course at Northwest Missouri State University covering the spring political season will host a Maryville town hall for the upcoming municipal election.

The forum will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, in the second floor courtroom of the Nodaway County Courthouse on the Maryville square. Participants in the hour-long forum include Renee Reidel, Maryville’s mayor and city council member, who is running unopposed for re-election; Maryville R-II School Board candidates Rob Sparks and Josh McKim, who also are unopposed for two open seats on the board; and Maryville City Manager Greg McDanel.

The forum’s intent is to provide residents the opportunity to pose questions to the candidates about their plans for office, as well as to ask questions of the city manager regarding the two tax initiatives on the upcoming ballot and address other areas of concern regarding the city.

The forum will be broadcast live on KNWT Channel 8 for Suddenlink cable subscribers and live-streamed through KNWT’s Ustream channel. An archive of the forum will be available through the Northwest Missourian website after the event.

Steven Chappell, an instructor of mass media and Northwest’s director of student publications, said the students’ original intent was to host a debate, but when none of the candidates faced a challenger they shifted to a town hall event.

“I wanted the students in the course to experience what being a journalist in a political environment is really like,” Chappell said. “We have seen numerous debates and town hall events on national media covering the presidential primaries, and this is an opportunity to give these students a taste of producing such an event at the local level.”

He said the event was important, not just for the students, but also the residents.

“The best electorate is an informed electorate,” Chappell said. “Also, this gives residents a chance to talk directly to the candidates about any issues they want to see addressed regarding the city or the schools. And we thought, with the tax initiative that the city manager has been explaining to residents since the start of the year, it was important to include him as well, as that’s the main issue on the ballot.”

The students will produce the entire broadcast of the forum, providing camera work, engineering and support. They also will serve as the forum’s moderators. Audience members may ask questions directly of the candidates during the event.

The political journalism course, taught by Chappell, consists of 13 students from various majors. Earlier in the trimester, the students traveled to Des Moines to cover the Feb. 1 Iowa caucus. They also provided coverage of Maryville’s role in the statewide presidential primary March 15. Coverage of both of those events is available online at

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468