SmartNews Online Forum

The Coming U.S. Presidential Election: The Fragmentation of Politics and Media

2020.10.29 (Thu) 11:30 - 13:00 (JST)

Smart News will hold a public symposium, “The Coming U.S. Presidential Election: Politics and the Future of the Media Divide,” with experts on U.S. politics and media invited to speak online at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 29.

The fierce campaigning between the candidates continues ahead of the November 3 U.S. presidential election voting date. Who will win, President Trump (Republican) or former Vice President Biden (Democrat), is of course a matter of global concern. But more than that, many people are probably wondering what will happen to American society after the election, as the Corona disaster spreads division and disparity.

This event will be held in two parts: Part 1 (discussion on the US presidential election) and Part 2 (introduction of Smart News initiatives).

In the first part, we would like to invite prominent political and media experts from Japan and the U.S. to discuss the current state of politics and society in the U.S., which is becoming increasingly divided, what is expected to happen after the election, what the media should do to overcome the division, and how the Japan-U.S. relationship will change depending on which president will be elected.

In the second part of the presentation, we will discuss the background behind our development of a feature that provides users in the U.S. with news from both conservative and liberal perspectives and helps voters cast their ballots.

The program is as follows

Keynote: Opening Speech by Rich Jaroslovsky, Vice President of Content
Rich Jaroslovsky, our Vice President of Content and Chief Journalist, will open the event. Rich Jaroslovsky is the founder of the online news media, The Wall Street Journal Online (WSJ.com), and has been following U.S. politics for a long time through his experience as the White House correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. He also founded the online news media, The Wall Street Journal Online (WSJ.com). He also founded the Online News Association (ONA), the world’s largest organization for digital journalism, and served as its first president. Based on these experiences, he will talk about the situation in the final stages of the presidential election and the fragmentation of politics and society.

Part I: Discussion by Japanese and U.S. experts Prof. Kubo, Prof. Maejima, Prof. Iyengar and others
Experts from Japan and the U.S. will be invited to participate in a panel discussion on such topics as “The Future of the U.S. Divide,” “Japan-U.S. and U.S.-China Relations,” and “The Role and Potential of the Media. From Japan, we will invite Professors Fumiakih Kubo (University of Tokyo) and Kazuhiro Maejima (Sophia University) who specialize in U.S. politics, and from the U.S., Professor Shanto Iyengar (Stanford University) who is a leading researcher on public opinion and mass media. Rich Jaroslovsky, who will deliver the opening speech, will also join the discussion.

Part II: The Challenge of Smart News
In the U.S., the 2016 presidential election has brought more attention to the divide between conservatives and liberals in U.S. society. In the U.S., we are offering a feature called “News From All Sides” that will allow users to compare both viewpoints starting in September 2019. In January 2020, we launched Election 2020, a special channel for this year’s presidential election, and in September 2020, we launched a feature that delivers comprehensive information to support US users’ voting. In the second part, K Iwasaki, our Product Manager, and Ricky Miller, Software Engineer in Web Technology, will introduce these features and explain the background of their development.

(*Each session can be listened to in Japanese by using the free simultaneous interpretation application that will be provided on the day.

Introduction of speakers

Professor Fumiaki Kubo / Professor, Graduate School of Law and Politics, The University of Tokyo

D. in Law from the University of Tokyo. D. in Law from the University of Tokyo. He was an assistant professor at the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Law, a lecturer and assistant professor at the University of Tsukuba’s Department of Social Sciences, an assistant professor and professor at Keio University’s Faculty of Law, and a professor at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Law and Politics. He is also a member of the U.S.-Japan Cultural and Educational Exchange Council (CALCON), a visiting professor at Keio University, and a visiting fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs. He has been a member of the Space Security Subcommittee of the Space Policy Committee of the Cabinet Office since 2014 (formerly the Basic Policy Subcommittee), and has been President of the American Studies Association since 2016.

Professor Kazuhiro Maejima / Faculty of Global Studies, Sophia University

He specializes in contemporary American politics and diplomacy. He holds a B.A. in English from Sophia University, an M.A. in Political Science from Georgetown University, and a Ph. D. in Political Science from the University of Maryland. His major publications include “American Politics and the Media: From Political Infrastructure to Political Mainstays in the Mass Media” (single author, Hokki Shuppan, 2011), “Internet Elections Change Politics and Society: The New ‘Public Sphere’ in Japan, the United States, and Korea” (co-editor, Keio University Press, 2013), and “Contemporary American Politics and the Media” ( He is also the co-editor of “Electoral Democracy in America in Crisis: From Socio-Economic Change to the Trump Phenomenon” (co-edited, Toshindo, 2020).

Professor Shanto Iyengar / Professor of Political Science, Stanford University

He is a professor of political science and director of the Political Communication Laboratory. His areas of expertise include the role of mass media in democratic societies, public opinion, and political psychology. He has received several professional awards, including the American Political Science Association’s Philip Converse Award for the best book in the field of public opinion, the Murray Edelman Lifetime Achievement Award, and Harvard University’s Goldsmith Book Award. He is the author of News That Matters (University of Chicago Press, 1987), Is Anyone Responsible? (University of Chicago Press, 1991), Explorations in Political Psychology (Duke University Press, 1995), Going Negative (Free Press, 1995), and Media Politics. a Citizen’s Guide (Norton, 2011).