Students Work in Media Filing Center

Student Assist in Media Filing Center

If having presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley on your college campus wasn’t exciting enough, five Saint Anselm students were given the opportunity to work for ABC News in the Media Filing Center ahead of Saturday night’s Democratic Debate.

Working in the filing center and spin room, students Stefan Skalimski ’18, Courtney Pelletier ’18, Phoebe Ferraiolo ’17, Abby Smith ’17, and Emily Dewey ’17, have been watching the political process in action.

“It’s a really good opportunity to see behind the scenes, watch the debate set up, and also network,” said politics major and communication minor Ferraiolo.

Throughout the afternoon, the students checked-in the media and gave out press credentials. More than 400 reporters, photographers, and members of the associated press are expected to check-in by the start of the debate.

For many of the students, having the presidential debates on campus was a main reason for choosing Saint Anselm College. Politics major Skalimski was deciding between Catholic University in Washington D.C and Saint Anselm, but ultimately decided on Saint Anselm because of his interest in political campaigns and the political presence at the college.

“The debates on campus are definitely a reason why I came here,” he said.

For the past two days, Skalimski has set-up the filing center: folding place cards, putting out chairs and hanging banners. Through the course of the day, he has directed the media personnel to their tables and in the process met representatives from Fox News, CNN, and other news organizations.

By the end of the night, Skalimski hopes one of the candidates makes an appearance in the spin room. However, the experience alone has made his time worthwhile, regardless of whether he sees Hillary or Bernie in the building,

“Working at the debates alone is a dream come true for a college politics major and I’m excited to have this opportunity,” said Skalimski.

Students prepare media filing center


Students Work Behind the Scenes at the Democratic Debate

Saint Anselm students assist in debate preparation

Behind the scenes at the ABC News Democratic Presidential Debate, Saint Anselm College students have been working around the clock in preparation for tonight’s event. More than 50 Saint Anselm College students are working for ABC. They’re standing-in for candidates during test shots, acting as ushers, meeting and greeting the media, and even acting as Martha Raddatz’s personal student-assistant.

Saint Anselm students assist in debate preparationSince Monday business major and politics minor Brian Pickowicz '16 has been working as the ABC News production manager’s assistant running errands, assisting with set production, and providing any necessary support to the ABC team. “The cool thing about being his shadow is how much I saw and learned,” says Pickowicz.

“I learned first-hand how everything in production works,” he says.

Politics major Ashley Motta '17 has also been assisting in the debate preparation as a runner for the engineering team. She unloaded trucks, ran cables, and set up the debate hall—all while also taking her final exams. She’s attending the debate tonight, seeing all her work come together during the live broadcast.

“I didn’t imagine all the roles that needed to come together to make this happen,” she says.

The Irony of Barack Obama


A large segment of the American electorate may believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim, but two Saint Anselm College professors argue that the president is not only a Christian, but one whose leadership is guided by his faith.

In their new book, The Irony of Barack Obama, professors Ward Holder, a theologian, and Peter Josephson, a political scientist, say that Obama is deeply influenced by the Christian political thinker, Reihnhold Niebuhr. Holder calls Niebuhr the greatest 20th century American theologian, while Josephson says he is a political theorist who is unusual for being both critical of and devoted to American democracy.

Niebuhr understands the tension between Christian biblical teachings and the demands of governing. This balance of faith and politics, of Christian pragmatism and progressiveness, can be identified in everything from Obama’s foreign policy to his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech and his stand on gay marriage, the professors say.

It is thus ironic that Barack Obama is the favored candidate of the secular left, say the professors, while Mitt Romney has the support of Evangelical Christians. And while Romney declares that faith will have nothing to do with his governance, Obama talks about how Christianity guides his presidency.


Fr. Jonathan's Remarks: ABC Presidential Primary Debate

Fr. Jonathan DeFelice, O.S.B.

Good evening and welcome to Saint Anselm College! Our community of Benedictines, trustees, faculty, staff, and students is privileged to host you here tonight for this important event in our American democracy. There are far too many dignitaries here tonight to name them all, but I do want to offer a special welcome to the members of our New Hampshire Congressional Delegation: Senator Kelly Ayotte, and representatives Frank Guinta and Charlie Bass. We are honored tonight to have with us New Hampshire’s senior statesman, Senator Judd Gregg and his wife Kathy Gregg, both of whom have been great friends of Saint Anselm College and especially our New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

We are pleased to be working once again with ABC and WMUR to offer a forum for presidential candidates to present their views just days before New Hampshire’s voters go to the polls in the first-in-the-nation primary. I offer them very special thanks for arranging this Republican Presidential Primary Debate, and to you for being here in the audience.

During the school year, the seats you occupy tonight are filled with Saint Anselm freshmen and sophomores who are listening to lectures about humanity’s great thinkers, leaders and creators. Our students are asked to engage with these minds, to listen, to question, to challenge and consider – and ultimately to determine what they think and believe.

Tonight, we are all students, not only those of us here in the Dana Center, but the millions of viewers across New Hampshire, the country and the world. We will listen carefully, engage with what is said, question and consider – and ultimately decide who we believe is the person best suited to lead our dear nation in this complicated and contentious time.

We in New Hampshire take seriously our responsibility as the country’s first primary voters. We know that civic engagement is essential to patriotism, and that our democracy cannot and will not survive without the participation of its citizens.

At Saint Anselm, it is part of our educational mission to help students develop the skills and wisdom they need to live in and help lead our nation. Our New Hampshire Institute of Politics, founded more than 10 years ago, embodies that mission not only for our students but also the citizens of our state.

Tonight, we are pleased to once again serve as America’s classroom on the eve of the New Hampshire primary. Hosting debates is an Anselmian tradition. Welcome again, and please join me in a brief prayer:

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation.

You are the creator of all life, and the source of all wisdom.

We are grateful for the many gifts you have given us especially grateful tonight for the gift we have to live in the freedom of the United States of America, and we pray for those who are defending that freedom in the armed services.

Send the help of your Spirit on President Obama and on all who would hope to hold our nation’s highest office, that they may be capable of serving with wisdom and prudence, with justice and compassion.

Give us the help we need to discern who will best serve our nation and your plan.

Keep all of the candidates and all of us gathered here at Saint Anselm College ever safe in your love.

Blessed are you, Lord God, for ever and ever.

Fr. Jonathan DeFelice, O.S.B.
Saint Anselm College

Journalist for a Day: A Student's Experience at the Debate


Photo: Gil Talbot

A garden sprung up on the grass outside Stoutenburgh Gymnasium, with big satellite flowers on stalks of wire and cable. The major networks, camped around the campus in big white microwave trucks, weren’t the only ones covering the debate; the Carr Center was bustling with over 700 news media reporters, journalists, photographers, cameramen, and other team members from all over the world.

Credentialed by ABC News, I was invited to report on the event for the Saint Anselm Crier. I sat in the front row in the press filing room, watched the debate with a room full of experienced journalism teams, and spoke to governors, U.S. representatives and senators, and directors and secretaries of federal offices who endorsed the Republican candidates for the Presidency. It was an amazing, new, and fulfilling experience for me to sit next to representatives from BBC News, to hear the stories of Occupy protesters and the supporters of the Republican candidates, and to communicate in broken Italian with a trio from a news media in Italy.

The 700 reporters were assigned seats along lines of tables set up in front of giant projector screens. In the hours before the debate, Occupy protesters marched on campus, setting up camp in the St. Joan of Arc parking lot. They carried signs and vigil candles, a coffin hoisted on the shoulders of six men, and beat on drums to lament the death of the American Dream. Vermin Supreme, a satirical performance artist who campaigns for the presidency on the platform of zombie awareness and tooth-brushing, joined the ranks of the Occupy Manchester/Saint Anselm movement. Republican supporters who shared the same space as the Occupiers had shouting matches over their favorite presidential candidate. Just like the garden of satellites, the supporters and protesters created a lush and colorful garden of picket signs. Everyone had a story to tell, including a group of Orthodox Jews from overseas protesting Zionism and an advocacy group for programs and services for children.

During the debate, the reporters focused on typing notes; during commercial breaks, discussions on new media outlets, such as Twitter and microblogging, were ubiquitous. Whenever a candidate would offer up an inspiring quote, the reporters gave a satisfied sigh; whenever there was an effective tack or a scathing side-comment, the reporters would laugh and groan. We were an audience beyond those in the seats in the Dana Center’s Koonz Theatre, and we were bringing this news to the rest of the world. It was fascinating, hearing the responses of the news teams as they prepared to write their stories and condense the information for the viewers and readers of their morning news. When the debate ended at eleven, there was a mad rush to the building next door, where we heard and recorded the words of government officials who reacted to the debate and gave support to the Republican candidates; the candidates themselves also joined the spin room, trying to get the press to hear more of their story.

From the moment the giant screens in our press room began airing the debate, I could feel a sense of pride and joy that my school, my little school in quiet New Hampshire, was at the eye of the world of politics. Saint Anselm College was praised by many for being a welcoming host; the spirit of the Benedictine tradition was definitely in the air during the whole debate process. Every journalist, every reporter, had a story to tell that night. In Manchester New Hampshire—at Saint Anselm College—history was made, and I was there to see it.

View all of the videos from the debates:

This post was submitted by Dylan Lindholm.

Stage is Set for New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate


We are live from the Dana Center as anticipation builds for tonight’s debate. Following a 4 p.m. dinner break, students and ABC staffers are wrapping up last-minute preparations for the broadcast: our students are participating in the last dress rehearsal, and World News will broadcast from the debate stage at 6:30.

Protesters and supporters are beginning to arrive outside, as are the media. Satellite trucks have overtaken the lawn in front of the gym, as hundreds of seats inside the Carr Center will soon be occupied by members of the national and international press.

From my workstation (located about ten feet from Diane Sawyers desk), we are preparing to upload images from our photographer who will be inside the hall tonight. After a long week of preparations, we’re all anxious to hear our five favorite words soon: “live from Saint Anselm College!”

This post was submitted by Cory True.

Students Get in on ABC Debate Action


People are giving Ryan Sandford funny looks. That's because today, he's a human camera. The freshman criminal justice major is walking around campus wearing a helmet cam, documenting as much of the debate night action as possible. It is part of his job with the Office of College Communications and Marketing.

Other students are working as runners, greeters, assistants and stand-ins. Burke Bero and Alicia Blanchard were part of a panel of "wise men," or political analysts, on a set in the Dana Center. Bero stood in for Jake Tapper, ABC News' senior White House correspondent, and Blanchard was political strategist Donna Brazile. ABC camera operators practiced their angles as the faux pundits conversed about the candidates. At the same time, six students stood at podiums on the main set, acting the parts of the Republican candidates. When the debate begins at 9 pm, the lighting, cameras, and audio will be honed to perfection.

This post was submitted by Laurie Morrissey.

Live: New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate


Tonight, we are broadcasting the New Hampshire Republican Primary Debate live from the Dana Center. Watch the live stream right here, join in on the live discussion with Rev. Dale S. Kuehne, Ph.D., and interact with us.

Live Stream and Discussion

Recent Videos

Faculty Experts Weigh in on New Hampshire Primary Hot Topics


Every four years, New Hampshire serves as a magnet to politicians and the media as the nation’s first presidential primary unfolds. Saint Anselm College professors weigh in on the latest issues affecting candidates coming out of the Iowa Caucuses. Click on the videos below for their thoughts. For information on these faculty experts or for other media inquires, please contact Laura Rossi at 603-656-7242 or

See the full list of faculty experts here.

Saint Anselm College Associate Professor of History Matthew Masur, Ph.D., offers his thoughts on the importance of the New Hampshire primary and debates as well as the lack of foreign policy discussions among candidates.


Saint Anselm College Assistant Professor of Politics Jennifer C. Lucas, Ph.D., offers her thoughts on the role of Michele Bachmann in the presidential race and how gender issues have shaped recent media coverage.


Saint Anselm College Assistant Professor of Politics Chris Galdieri offers his thoughts on the GOP candidates leading up to the New Hampshire primary.

This post was submitted by Jack Morris.

GOP Debate Week: Tuesday


Amanda Sharon '15 and Ashley Scoville '15 work as runners for ABC News at the Radisson Hotel on January 3.

With four days to go before the Republican Primary Debate on January 7, the campus is soon to become a media maelstrom. In the Dana Center, where the event will be hosted by ABC and WMUR, Christmas wreaths came down and aluminum trusses went up. Lighting technicians hung and cabled 175 lights. Cushing Student Center was becoming FOX News “command central,” and a FOX News studio set was being created in Davison Hall.

Four miles away, in Manchester’s Radisson Hotel, dozens of Saint Anselm students worked as runners for CBS and ABC, laying cable, putting up signs, and setting up chairs and tables. Tom Snow ’14, a politics major, sat in for anchor Scott Pelley on the CBS set and has also sat in for TV talk show host Charlie Rose. Tomorrow morning, he and Gabriella Servello ’14 report for work at 4:30 to work the “green room” before the 7am show airs.

It’s fairly calm right now, one runner remarked, but once the candidates and journalists arrive from Iowa, where the caucus is taking place today, they expect to be literally running.

Check out the complete photo gallery below.


This post was submitted by Laurie Morrissey.