NJ.com event on Chris Christie's New Jersey inspires thoughtful discussion

October 6, 2015

On Thursday, September 24 over 70 guests joined Tom Moran, editorial page editor of the Star-Ledger and NJ.com and colleagues Matt Katz of WNYC and Brian Donohue, producer of NJ.com’s Ledger Live broadcasts, to discuss “Chris Christie’s New Jersey” at the Bloustein School’s Special Events Forum. In addition to attendees, NJ.com streamed the hour-long event online for free.

The interactive event featured Donohue moderating a discussion about a variety of issues affecting New Jersey and Governor Chris Christie, ranging from the state’s transportation infrastructure to education reform and the Governor’s current run for the Republican presidential nomination. As Donohue posed questions to Katz and Moran, polls flashed on the screen behind the panel asking spectators their opinions on the state, the state’s most dire issues, and the Governor’s candidacy, among other topics. The polls were also open to everyone streaming the event online. Multimedia clips featuring Chris Christie and his interactions with the journalists were spliced into the discussion.

Spectators were treated to Katz’s and Moran’s personal anecdotes of dealing with Governor Christie throughout his tenure as a New Jersey public figure. During introductions Moran explained his interaction with Governor Christie during an initial press conference where Christie described Moran as “thin-skinned.” This comment become part of a viral news clip that helped catapult Governor Christie into the national spotlight as a conservative leader. Katz followed this up with a description of his line of questioning to Governor Christie at the advent of the Bridgegate scandal.

Donohue’s measured moderating, including both predetermined questions and questions submitted online during the event, allowed both panelists to offer quips, stories and perspectives on New Jersey’s middle class, Sandy recovery, the gas tax, the Hudson River tunnel, the condition of New Jersey, Governor Christie’s run for the Presidential nomination, and taxes in the state.

After the hour-long streaming event concluded, Moran and Katz took questions from the audience. Several questions, particularly on education reform, inspired thoughtful but passionate debate between the well-informed attendees and the panelists.

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