August 27, 2007
The Saint Anselm campus was seemingly deserted as I left my dorm at 6:15 Sunday morning to meet Bob Schieffer and his producer at their hotel to bring them back to campus for the interview with Senator John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth. I served as the runner for the crew for the day, a job that requires one always to be close at hand for an assignment, but never in the way of the action.
And such was the case: from locating a variety of local and national newspapers before 7 a.m to tracking down a few bottles of Diet Coke minutes before the Edwards campaign caravan arrived on campus, I was afforded a front row seat to the action, and a truly unique understanding of what goes into producing the interview that you may have seen on your television Sunday morning.
I joined the crew outside Alumni Hall during the 7 a.m. hour to pre-tape the introduction and closing commentary to the program. I stood alongside the crew behind the camera as Bob Schieffer read his narration, introducing the broadcast from “historic Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.” During the 8 a.m. hour, I was called upon to sit in for a camera check, and was placed in the seat that Senator Edwards would occupy shortly thereafter. By 9 a.m. we welcomed Senator Edwards and Elizabeth Edwards, and were making final preparations for the live broadcast. Shortly after 10:30 a.m. I walked from the site of the live interview and into Father Jonathan’s office where campaign and college staff had gathered around a TV to watch the interview being seen around the country.
In a slightly surreal atmosphere, we watched the interview as it occurred only 20 feet away. Thirty minutes passed quickly, and the show came to a close. Ushering the senator and his wife outside with other staff, we prepared for our final challenge: getting the Edwards motorcade back to Saint Anselm Drive against the flow of traffic entering the campus for move-in day. With a little luck, and a suggestion that the Edwards van drive onto the lawn, we were able to get them back to their campaign bus, and on their way to the next campaign event to be held minutes later in Manchester.
And in less than an hour the cameras were gone, the cables were coiled back into the satellite truck, and the crew was on their way to the airport. As they departed we exchanged handshakes, business cards, and the expectation that we would all see each other again soon.
Photos by Cory True ‘09
August 26, 2007
I had a unique opportunity today to interview one of the nation’s premier political journalists, Face the Nation moderator Bob Schieffer. To be in the same room to see Schieffer work is one thing, but to be able to sit down and interview him for 20 minutes is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
With a career that spans 50 years, Schieffer is CBS News’ chief Washington correspondent and he has covered all four major beats in Washington, including the Whitehouse, the Pentagon, Congress, and the State Department.
He has covered every presidential campaign as well as Democratic and Republican National Conventions since 1972. Schieffer has been to New Hampshire many times over the years to report on the presidential primary and he easily admits his fondness for the important role the New Hampshire Primary holds in presidential politics.
In this interview, Shieffer discusses some of the issues with the current presidential selection system as well as the current state of journalism and how it has changed since he began his career.
Photo by Alex Witkowicz ‘08
August 26, 2007
Thanks to all the students and staff for an early start on this particular Sunday morning, and yet another example of Benedictine hospitality being extended to the media and presidential candidates. Traffic at the main entrance of the college looked a bit like rush hour congestion on an interstate as returning students jostled for momentum in between the Edwards campaign bus and local community members headed to Mass in the Abbey Church.
Father Jonathan’s office was converted to the CBS green room, and students were successful in rounding up a few bottles of Diet Coke for Senator Edwards on a campus that is otherwise fully committed to Pepsi products. The morning’s most memorable moment came when a parent walked into the admission office where Bob Schieffer was working at the reception desk before the broadcast and tried to hand over a check for tuition. Schieffer directed the parent to the business office on the second floor of Alumni Hall, and later commented that he hoped he’d sent that parent in the right direction.
The cables, cameras, and the lights were carefully packed up before CBS producers and Bob Schieffer headed back to Washington. I had not yet made it home when a CBS producer in Washington called to tell me that they were thrilled with Saint Anselm College as a venue for political coverage from New Hampshire, and that she’ll definitely be looking to hire our students for their 2008 election coverage. Who could blame them?
Photos by Alex Witkowicz ‘08
August 26, 2007
Saint Anselm College served as host today for a live broadcast of CBS’s Face the Nation. The first-floor of Alumni Hall was abuzz this morning with excitement as the Face the Nation crew took over the main lobby of the Admission Office for the show’s production.
The day began shortly after 7 a.m. as Bob Schieffer shot the program’s morning promo, show intro, and commentary from the Quad with Alumni Hall as the backdrop.
All this took place as students returned to campus for the start of the academic year on Monday.
To give you a sense of all that took place during CBS’s time on campus, we’ve uploaded photos to our Flickr photo stream. Thanks to student photographer Alex Witkowicz for supplying us with photos of the day’s event.
If you missed the airing of today’s Face the Nation, video of the program is available on the CBS News Web site.
Top photo by Alex Witkowicz ‘08
August 25, 2007
School hasn’t even begun yet, but the on campus activity has already picked up, both with students, and Presidential aspirants.
Sunday, CBS News will broadcast a live interview from Alumni Hall with Senator John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth. Although the interview will take place while a majority of the student population of Saint A’s is just returning to campus and starting to move into their residence for the academic year, a number of students have arrived early to assist with the broadcast - myself included.
After speaking with CBS News producers in Washington on Friday, I met with Saint Anselm staff, and other students to set our schedules for the weekend. Although the CBS crew would be setting up on Saturday, students were not scheduled to report for duties until Sunday morning. With this plan, I went about my day, greeting new students during a round-robin orientation in the morning, and helping my roommate move in early in the afternoon.
And then my cell phone rang.
Bob Schieffer and his producer were on the road in Manchester, but had become lost in Manchester with some confusing directions provided by their hotel to get to the college. After speaking on the phone with Mr. Schieffer’s producer, I was able to figure out where they were, and drive to their location. Upon locating their car, and escorting them onto the Saint Anselm College campus, we met briefly with the on-site technical crew before I returned them to their hotel for a busy afternoon of preparations.
I soon arrived back on campus, and reported to the Alumni Hall office where the interview would be set. The crew had placed their cameras, lights and audio equipment but were lacking a few pieces of furniture needed to “fill out” the shot. With a shopping list in hand of: academic books, a lamp, a few end tables and flowers, I set out to do my best. My first stop was none other than the Presidents office where not only did I find our College President working, but also found everything on my list! With the assistance of the crew, Father Jonathan and I relocated several items from his office to the interview set which will be seen in the background during the broadcast on Sunday morning.
…And so goes just another day in the amazing experience that is the Presidential Primary season; only at Saint Anselm college…