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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

C-Span bus visits SE for campaign

Tamara Robinson, C-Span marketing representative, works out of the network’s tour bus during a recent visit to SE Campus. Robinson and the bus came to the DFW area to promote awareness of and encourage student participation in the 2008 presidential election. The vehicle is equipped with an interview room, camera controls and sound equipment for studio production and editing.  Photo courtesy Monica Lea
Tamara Robinson, C-Span marketing representative, works out of the network’s tour bus during a recent visit to SE Campus. Robinson and the bus came to the DFW area to promote awareness of and encourage student participation in the 2008 presidential election. The vehicle is equipped with an interview room, camera controls and sound equipment for studio production and editing. Photo courtesy Monica Lea

By André Green/se news editor

Tamara Robinson, C-Span marketing representative, works out of the network’s tour bus during a recent visit to SE Campus. Robinson and the bus came to the DFW area to promote awareness of and encourage student participation in the 2008 presidential election. The vehicle is equipped with an interview room, camera controls and sound equipment for studio production and editing.  Photo courtesy Monica Lea
Tamara Robinson, C-Span marketing representative, works out of the network’s tour bus during a recent visit to SE Campus. Robinson and the bus came to the DFW area to promote awareness of and encourage student participation in the 2008 presidential election. The vehicle is equipped with an interview room, camera controls and sound equipment for studio production and editing. Photo courtesy Monica Lea

With less than 10 months until the primaries and more than 20 months to the presidential election, voters will definitely get more than their share ofinformation about candidates.

The Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network, or C-SPAN, “Road to the White House Campaign 2008” bus made a brief stop on SE Campus last week in advance of the presidential election.

Tamara Robinson, marketing representative, said the bus normally travels the country visiting middle and high schools. It offers students a chance to learn how to apply critical viewing skills as well as media literacy to their programming choices.

Robinson said the bus informs students of the selection and editing process of the media and its impact on the stories being told. She cited reality television programs as an example.

Robinson said most shows might shoot eight hours of footage only to be later edited down to an hour that the viewer sees.

The end result, she said, could change the product drastically.

“ Reality TV isn’t really always reality,” she said. “Different editing techniques can impact the story.”

The same principle can be applied in regard to the election, so C-SPAN has given more focus to touring college campuses to provide information.
Robinson said the bus tour’s focus is to “essentially find out what’s on the mind” of students and take those ideas to the corporate office to be addressed properly. 

“ We are going around and informing students on how the media play a role in the presidential election,” she said.

In addition to touring and promotion, the bus also serves as a mobile studio.

The front half of the vehicle houses an editing room complete with Bose surround sound, camera controls, a nine-foot sofa and two 40-inch flat screen televisions.

The rear serves as the interview room or lounge. The halves are separated by a two-inch automatic glass door that Robinson said is 80 percent sound proof.

Bill Clinton was the first president to be interviewed on the bus, Stephanie

Green, marketing representative, said.

“ The bus was parked in front of the White House, and President Clinton found out,” she said. “He came out, toured the bus and did an interview.”

Many visitors often have questions regarding the issues with C-SPAN and its program schedule.

Sharon Holmes, math instructor, said she was following the election closely but wanted to know if C-SPAN offered any programming that disseminated information she needed without spin.

“ How can I get information, not from the left or the right?” she asked. “I just want the facts.”

Robinson said the public affairs network offers information only from “a fly on the wall” perspective.

“ We just follow a candidate around with a camera and just watch them,” she said. “There are no interviews slated, and we do not preempt proceedings or interrupt individuals.”

Green said C-SPAN programming is generally non-biased and unfiltered.

“ We try to give [the viewer] as much information as possible to help you decide what is important,” she said.

Robinson added the network does not do investigative journalism.

“ The only time we do any type of analysis is when we have our call-in shows,” she said.

The C-SPAN network primarily serves as a venue for the public to view congressional proceedings.

C-SPAN features live coverage of the House of Representatives and international programs including the British House of Commons.

C-SPAN 2 offers coverage of the U.S. Senate while C-SPAN 3 offers public affairs and historical programming that focuses on the history of the United States.

The C-SPAN network is a private, non-profit organization funded by cable and satellite affiliates who carry the network’s programming.

Robinson said the people who subscribe to Time Warner Cable pay 5 cents a month.

“ If you want to know why your cable bill is high, it’s not us,” she said.

Robinson said the tour can incorporate some interviews with the candidates prior to the elections, but planning is the difficult part.

The tour schedule is made approximately three months in advance, so a candidate would be interviewed only by coincidence, she said.

Robert Broughton, SE Campus student, said he avidly follows politics and was eager to get a tour of the bus.

“ They didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know, but it was good to get a look inside,” he said.

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