Life in “The White Hot Center of the Universe”

January 6, 2008

When things started to pick up before the debates on Saturday afternoon, I knew it was going to be an exciting evening. The energy on campus was high and everyone in a few mile radius could feel it. As one reporter told me yesterday, “We are the white-hot center of the universe tonight—and you’re in the middle of it.”

That sentiment certainly echoed true throughout the night. With days of preparation behind me, the moment was finally here. Streams of journalists filed past me to pick up their credentials: everyone from prominent The New York Times reporters, to the managing editor of People magazine, to Japanese public television correspondents. All of them were excited to see not only what the debates held in store, but this whole election. And as someone with a large appreciation for popular culture—it was beyond memorable that I met people who I watch on TV every morning, and people who write for the magazines that I read religiously every week.

Things reached a fever pitch during the time in the spin room. Journalists rushed from the Media Filing Center in Carr Center to the spin room in Stoutenburgh Gymnasium. All eyes were eager with anticipation and all cameras were pointed and ready to click at who would walk through the door ready to “spin” their candidate. You could tell the instant that someone walked in because the cameras and journalists would form an imposing swarm around the person and the cameras would start flashing. Republican candidate Ron Paul’s arrival into the spin room caused an uproar, as did Elizabeth Edwards and Mass. Governor Deval Patrick.

Even though the energy surrounding this event is starting to die down, the fervor for this historic election is still going on. I was asked yesterday by a reporter why I was interested in what was going on if I wasn’t a politics major. I responded that this is an important election for everyone because of the big issues on the table. But more than that, this election is truly history in the making. And as a history major, being even a small piece of that is all that I could ask for. And all of the other people I met and things I experienced was just icing on an already very sweet cake.

More Than a Paycheck

January 6, 2008

Caitlin Patenaude '11 (l) and Lauren Weybrew '08 (r)I’ve spent the past few days working for ABC News and despite the extremely long hours, lack of sleep, and caffeine diet, I would do it all over again. My duties started on Jan. 3, a few days before the debate.

My official title was student runner/press file room assistant. I helped set up the press file room, where more than 700 members of the worldwide media came to watch the debates and work on their stories. I also spent many hours canvassing the “spin room” which you may have seen on TV. It’s where reporters, candidates, and campaign managers collided after the debates to create exciting chaos. I also did some of the less glamorous jobs, like running to Lowe’s and Wal-mart to buy $200 worth of duct tape.

During the actual event, I checked-in media personnel who arrived late and prepped the “spin room” during the turnover time in between the debates. I also got a piece of my 15 minutes of fame, as evidenced from the text messages I kept getting from friends and family telling me that they just saw me on TV!

This morning, I woke up early so the fun could continue. I had the opportunity to attend the taping of This Week with George Stephanopoulos, which aired in the Dana Center. Stephanopoulos interviewed Gov. Mike Huckabee, Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. John Edwards, and held a round table event with ABC News consultants. Because I didn’t get to actually watch the debates, it was great to hear more from the candidates and see highlights from the main event last night. I also met both Gov. Huckabee and Sen. Edwards, which was a nice surprise.

For me, this experience was about more than just earning money for a few days. I am graduating in May with a history degree and a love of communications and journalism. But I’m currently lacking the all important first job. I was able to interact with people at all different levels of the ABC job-chain and find out what they do, which was very helpful to me because I’m not quite sure exactly what avenue I want to pursue. I worked extensively with the executive director of media relations for ABC, met the publicist for Diane Sawyer, and the people who organize all the ABC affiliate networks.

After I take a few days to reflect on my experience and absorb everything that has happened, I am confident that I will gain not only more direction as to what I want to do in the future, but also some great contacts within the ABC family.

Prof. Beth Salerno Living and Learning in South Korea

November 18, 2007

Beth Salerno Hiking in North KoreaIn this podcast, we feature part two of a phone interview with Saint Anselm History Professor Beth Salerno who is spending this academic year in South Korea as part of the Fulbright Scholar program. Read more

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Lilly Wahl-Tuco ‘99 Working in U.S. Foreign Service

November 9, 2007

Lilly in ParisWhen Lilly Wahl-Tuco was a senior here at Saint Anselm College, she never dreamed that she would one day be the assistant to the U.S. ambassador to France. Graduating in 1999, she went on to work with non-governmental organizations in the Manchester area and eventually went to Bosnia to pursue graduate studies. Though she began seriously considering working in the foreign service during her time in Bosnia, she credits Saint Anselm with launching her into NGO work through volunteering and internship opportunities.

Lilly passed the rigorous foreign service test and got her first appointment in Paris, France. After doing consular work for a few months, she was promoted to be the special assistant to U.S. Ambassador Craig Roberts Stapleton.

In this podcast, I ask Lilly all about this seemingly dream job. She talks about the politicians and celebrities that she comes into contact with on a daily basis working at “post” (the American Embassy). She also talks about learning French and what its like to walk by the Eiffel Tower on her way to work every day.

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Rudy Giuliani Cites His Experience During Visit

November 5, 2007

Mayor Rudy GiulianiThe New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College played host to Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani in a town-hall style forum. Mayor Giuliani spoke at length to a packed auditorium and full press section about his views and hopes for the future of America, then engaged in a question and answer session with students and the public.

Giuliani used his speech to talk about the importance of experience in a presidential candidate, highlighting his time spent as mayor of New York City. He explains how his life experiences would aid his presidential responsibilities.

Mayor Rudy GiulianiHe describes what he would look for in a vice-presidential running mate by giving an anecdote about his breakfast with former President Ronald Reagan on the morning he was shot, and explaining how that experience would impact his choice.

Mayor Giuliani made a point of talking about “doing the things that everyone thinks are impossible,” and how he plans to accomplish them, both in domestic and international affairs.

Photos by Brian Wozniak

Media Coverage: Flickr Photos | Union Leader | Boston Globe | WBZ-TV | NECN

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Podcast Interview With Prof. Beth Salerno From South Korea

October 26, 2007

Beth Salerno in Korea

Can you imagine living in a country where everything you say gets consistently lost in translation? How about the feeling of always being stared at because you look so different? And could you eat food that you don’t even know how to pronounce?

Saint Anselm History Professor Beth Salerno is having just this kind of experience in South Korea, where she is currently living and teaching as part of the Fulbright Scholar Program.

In this podcast, we feature part one of a two-part phone interview with Professor Salerno from her home in South Korea. We discuss why she chose to go to South Korea and live within a culture so very different from her own, the tourist experiences she’s had, and what the food is really like.

She also tells me why she doesn’t always feel so far away from the United States when it comes to her students’ choice of attire.

Professor Salerno is blogging about her adventures in South Korea this entire academic year. She includes entries about her cultural experiences along with many photos documenting her life in Asia. You can access Professor Salerno’s blog at

Be sure to look out for part two of my interview where I ask Professor Salerno about living so close to North Korea, the South’s views toward its northern neighbor, and the first thing she wants to do when she returns to the United States.

Update: Part two of this interview is now available.

Photos courtesy of Professor Beth Salerno

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