Communication Students, National Conventions, Summer 2016

Communication Students, National Conventions (Summer 2016) SMU students are attending the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia as part of a political communication studies program in Meadows School of the Arts.

POTUS at the DNC

Dorothy O. is a junior majoring in public relations/corporate communication and public affairs with a focus on political science: July 28 I can honestly say that my feet have never been the size they are now. Over the course of the week I have taken approximately 82,799 steps, and it has been the most rewarding experience ever. Every step I have taken is one towards accomplishment, and I have met people who are not only incredibly impressive but who are also kind and down to earth. Tonight I stood in the same room as the 44th president of the United States of America as he gave what might be one of his last important speeches. I wept. I was actually [...]

Scripted, to On-the-Fly

Dorothy O. is a junior majoring in public relations/corporate communication and public affairs with a focus on political science: July 26: I texted almost every member of my family last night: “this is the field that I want to go into.” After only one day I have been captivated by this industry; I love the pace, the ability to grow as a creative problem solver, and the high stakes. I have always been the type of person who thrives on busy days, and working for CNN has highlighted this character trait. Sunday morning I was assigned to be a “general runner” and expected a slightly boring day. Since DNC hadn’t officially begun, I thought that I would be assigned to [...]

Glass Ceiling

Gabrielle M. is a senior majoring in corporate communications and public affairs: Wednesday of the DNC started off on the same way: Uber in, grab as much coffee or sugar needed to go through the day, rush to my designated spot for the day, and wait for any runner duty to come my way. But when I was sent to pick up a guest for a live hit, this Wednesday changed. My guest was in the middle of live filming, so I got to observe. Typically, during any observation, I keep a neutral face and definitely keep my opinions to myself. Today, my face betrayed my composure. While on air, a seemingly rational woman stated that the glass ceiling for [...]

The Political Amazing Race

Gabrielle M. is a senior majoring in corporate communications and public affairs: At the start of the RNC I labeled the trip "The Political Amazing Race" as a joke because it seemed as though I would never make it out of Dallas. I had hopes that would end once I got to the RNC and, if not, the DNC. Of course, being my luck, the RNC did not prove to be any different. Then the flights I had to take to get to Philadelphia were the most stressful 12 hours in an airport of my life. At this point, I realized it might be best to just embrace it. The embrace of chaotic, uncontrollable, seemingly disastrous events soon proved to [...]

Please Excuse my Name Dropping

William H. is a junior studying political communication and political science: After a week of early mornings and late nights here in Philadelphia, it becomes hard to distill my experience at the Democratic National Convention down into individual moments and experiences. We all had so many, from standing on the floor of the convention hall to seeing President Barack Obama praise Secretary Hillary Clinton, much of the week blends together in a blur of excitement. During the week I ended up spending much of my time in a golf cart driving various people to and from their “hits” on any number of different CNN programs. (A hit is a TV segment.) I learned the map of the convention hall like [...]

Convention Prep

William H. is a junior studying political communication and political science: Entering the realm of news media is an experience. The morning after we arrived in Philadelphia to work as runners at the Democratic National Convention, our group headed out to the Wells Fargo Center to do a quick run through of the layout of the convention center and grounds. And while we did work at the media party, which was hosted in Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies, we really kicked things off the next day. Sunday morning, bright and early, I found myself standing on the convention floor while CNN National Correspondent John King gave an overview of the morning news. He was followed by CNN’s [...]

Star-Studded Night

Spencer G. is a junior, double majoring in philosophy and political communication: As quick as it all started, it is now over. A full week at the DNC felt like only a couple of days, despite the long hours. While the work has been tiresome, the experience itself has been amazing. Being at the same facility as so many delegates, reporters and politicians is strange. The first day’s starstruck feeling of seeing Wolf Blitzer flash a quick smile, sitting at a desk across from Jake Tapper, or walking past Anderson Cooper soon becomes, well, almost normal. Getting into a routine of accommodating and seeing these people is something that you don't quite expect coming in, but it really happens. There [...]

Right place, right time

Spencer G. is a junior, double majoring in philosophy and political communication: “Hurry up and wait.” “Right place, right time.” These were the phrases most often used by our professors as advice and descriptions of our coming experiences at the Democratic National Convention, interning with CNN. After my first day I can surely say that those two phrases are the most accurate description of a student working at a huge, orchestrated event like the DNC. The morning started off relatively slow. I was assigned as a general runner, meaning that I really had no specific job and would do whatever I was needed for. For a while, that was sit and wait around in the main newsroom. This was the [...]

Witness to History

Candi B. is a senior majoring in journalism: One of my favorite moments during the Republican National Convention is getting to see history being made. Prior to coming to the RNC, I took Intro to Media and Politics with professor Carolyn Barta. In the class I learned about the delegate roll call and officially nominating the presidential hopeful. Even so, I didn't fully understand the extent of the pageantry to it. The convention itself was in the Quicken Loans Arena, a stadium that fits more than 20,000 people and is usually home to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the front was a silver stage with a podium. Red carpeting covered the floor, and multiple flat-screen TVs were throughout the arena so [...]

Convention Akin to a Pep Rally

Jacqueline F. is a senior majoring in journalism and fashion media and minoring in political science: Having behind the scenes access to the Republican National Convention granted me access to an inside look to places inaccessible to the public or even the delegates. It was in these restricted areas that I thought I would find the most shocking behavior and uncover the biggest secrets. But by the second day of the convention, I quickly realized that wasn’t the case. Rather, it was the atmosphere on the convention floor that exposed me to a new understanding of what actually happens at national conventions and what they do for the party. Prior to stepping on the convention floor, I expected the delegates [...]

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