Learning to Put Words in the President’s Mouth

Written by Ben Lowenthal

Illustration by Yanuara Ramirez

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With presidential primaries happening on what seems like a daily basis, the art of speech writing is constantly being highlighted. Whether it’s for a victory, a concession or a rally, what politicians say in their speeches quickly become news and shape the race to the White House. However, it’s common knowledge that politicians have a team of speech writers who carefully choose what words their candidate will say. Coming this spring, Temple University will have its own speech writing club where students can learn more about this process and write speeches of their own.

“The Temple University Speech Writing Club was founded to introduce students to the concept of speech writing,” the club’s website says. “Through guest lectures and internal discussions, students will learn about experts’ experiences with communication and writing speeches, while also becoming a better writer themselves.”

Like all clubs at Temple, the Speech Writing Club has chosen faculty advisor to oversee it. The advisor is Chair Lance Holbert from the School of Media and Communication. Holbert is and both a professor and Chair of the Department of Strategic Communications.

As of right now, the club only consists of its advisor and its officers, but is looking to expand. Its officers stress the importance of their club’s goal and urge other students to join.

“Speech writing is so important, it’s applicable to every field of study,” vice president of the club Ashley Paskill said. “For a lot of jobs you need good public speaking skills. Whether you’re making a presentation in the office or you’re actually going out and making a speech, you need to sound professional.”

The club’s founding is coming at a critical time, given all that is happening in U.S. politics. With all the speeches being given by presidential candidates, the efforts of speech writing are being put on full display for the public. Paskill believes that speech writing skills are key to pointing out some of the messages within a candidate’s campaign.

“I feel like it could help you dissect the speeches,” Paskill said. “You could see one and say ‘OK, that’s the goal. That’s what he’s trying to get across there.’”

While the club has yet to announce its first meeting date, it will be doing so through its website, which will have details regarding meeting times, topics and other events. Go to www.tuspeechwriting.wordpress.com for more information.

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