In My Humble Opinion…

Since the entire media has already covered many aspects of the Democratic debate, here are some quick observations:

– It was disappointing to see that the CNN Express Bus replaced the view of Alumni Hall. Sunday morning viewers had a clear shot of the building, but by the afternoon that view was blocked by the giant bus.

– I feel bad for the CNN sound crew. Fahey's mic did not work (twice) and the "back chatter" of the candidates could be heard throughout the debate. Columnists from The Politico, The Hotline, and others wrote on the topic.

– It's disappointing to see little focus on the Biden, Dodd and Richardson. The Big Three were able to debate between each other, while the second-tier candidates were constrained. Even, Ray Buckley is complaining that NBC 's fall debate better not follow the CNN route.

– Finally, a student from the Saint Anselm College student body should have been given the opportunity to ask a question.

– Brian "Cosmo" Lawson ('08)
New Hampshire Presidential Watch

"Running" for CNN, Day 3

The debates are over…for today. Not to worry though, we'll still be here tomorrow, and again for the Republican debate on Tuesday. After the long hours at work, and the short nights of sleep, the experience is all of, and more than what I could have expected it to be.

Dedicated Saint Anselm students have diligently worked to represent the college, and it certainly showed tonight. Much of what you saw on TV, and even more that will only be seen by those who were on campus, was the product of a Saint Anselm student. From driving a guest to an appearance on the quad-based CNN studio, to ensuring that lighting was right on the debate set, and even some of the photography that accompanies this blog are the handiwork of the CNN runners who have given whatever it takes to get the job done.

Maybe it was while standing in the midst of the various campaign supporters outside of Sullivan Arena this afternoon, or perhaps standing on the floor of the debate hall as the candidates walked out onto the stage, it may even have been the first time that CNN displayed the "LIVE — SAINT ANSELM COLLEGE" logo on the screen as I watched from the press center…but at some point I realized how lucky, and honored we all are at Saint Anselm to be able to take part in the experience.

Debates Underway

Saint Anselm students are spread across campus with the debates now underway. About one hour into the two hour debate, a number of students are inside the debate hall, preparing in the spin room, and assisting the media here in the Carr Center where many journalists have gathered to watch the programming originating on the other side of campus.

Prior to the start of the debates, I accompanied a student photographer around campus, heading inside the fenced area where supporters had gathered to cheer on their candidate. Shortly thereafter, we were escorted into the debate hall with the professional photographers to collect images of the candidates as they arrived on the set.

We'll be off to the spin room at 9 p.m. to watch the candidates and their campaigns conduct media interviews. Stay tuned!

The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of… People

Satellite Trucks Outside of Stoutenburgh GymnasiumT-4 hours until it all begins, and already the sights and sounds of hundreds of supporters marching around campus and shouting for their candidate are piercing through the cold rain. Yes, Saint Anselm College has come alive and finds itself, once again, smack dab in the middle of the International spotlight.

There are more wires, paper, people, signs, shouting, and cheering than I've ever seen on campus. There is mayhem on the Hilltop, but then again, this is the moment we've all been waiting for.


Ready, Set, Go

Debate day is upon us, and in less than 24 hours the Democrats will have had their turn, and it will be time for the Republicans to take the stage.

We’ve all seen an amazing transformation executed by some pretty incredible people.  The staffs from both the college and CNN, side-by-side with some students, have worked tirelessly to make this go off without a hitch.  Well, at least without a noticeable one :-).  The grunt work has been tiresome and sometimes tedious.  We’ve worked through the blistering heat and the brutal hail.  We’ve made signs, photocopies, delivered food, picked up food, set up stages, posed as candidates, given directions, been chauffeurs, made phone calls, typed emails, and done everything in between.  We’re exhausted.  But we will continue to press on, because it will all be worth it when tomorrow we hear those much anticipated words: “Live from Saint Anselm College…”

"Running" for CNN – Day 2

CNN DEBATES (SAT,  JUNE 2) 083.jpgOnce again, a number of Saint Anselm College students donned their "CNN – ALL ACCESS" credentials today and headed out onto campus to assist the network with their debate preparations. Several students were assigned to the debate hall while others helped guide campaign staffers through the maze of campus buildings that are being utilized for the debates. More students were utilized later in the evening for a rehearsal of the Democratic Debate to be held Sunday night.

CNN DEBATES (SAT,  JUNE 2) 014.jpgMy job today was to help staff the Quad, where two CNN satellite trucks were parked to send out stories to both CNN as we see it here in the country, and the international feed seen around the world. With Alumni Hall as a backdrop, two of CNN's reporters broadcast live to the world as I looked on. Before each live shot, the crew would ask that I step in front of the camera, to allow for the adjusting of lighting and to frame the shot appropriately.

CNN DEBATES (SAT,  JUNE 2) 049.jpgLater in the day, the "CNN ELECTION EXPRESS" arrived on the Quad. This brand new bus will be utilized by the network in the remainder of this election cycle to serve as a mobile newsroom, visiting political hot spots around the country. In what seems like a natural fit, the bus began its trek around the country here at Saint Anselm College. It was a privilege to be one of the first people onto the bus, along with a number of CNN executives who are here on site for the debates to have a first look at what will be seen by millions in the upcoming campaign coverage.

As the work day came to a close, many of us who are working the debates returned to Sullivan Arena to check out the nearly finished set. Students were brought on stage to stand in for candidates, testing the camera angles, audio, and lighting. With ten cameras working around the set, Saint Anselm students literally took a center stage roll in the primary process.

From Hockey To Presidential Debates

Two weeks ago, Saint Anselm College hosted their commencement in the Thomas Sullivan Ice Arena. The arena was packed with graduates and their friends and family. As their walked across the stage it was hard to imagine the transformation the arena would undergo.

Perhaps, for students it is even harder to imagine that the place where many go to cheer on their favorite hockey teams, will now be used to stage a critical political event.

A small bit of irony in all this, is that the place where teams body check each other into boards, will now host an event in which candidates are sure to body check their opponents.

Note: It is Saint Anselm College, NOT Saint Anselm's College.

"Running" for CNN – Day 1

A number of Saint Anselm College students arrived on campus today to serve as "runners" for CNN. After a quick introduction, students were whisked off to a number of locations around campus, I was sent to Sullivan Arena, where the debates will be held, with two other students.

Working alongside the behind-the-scenes staff of CNN who have spent months planning the logistics of the operation, we all quickly came to realize how invested the network had become in producing this event. Our interaction with the set designers, technicians and producers — among many others — began to give us a sense of just how large of a production this will be.

After our shift ended, a tour of campus gave all of us a preview of what to expect in the coming days: satellite trucks are parked around the quad, prepared to broadcast with Alumni Hall in the background. The Carr Center, a multipurpose sports and recreation building has been transformed by what seems like miles of wires, and hundreds of chairs into what will be the press file center. Crews worked late into the night, preparing for what promises to be a busy weekend.