Communication Studies, National Conventions 2012

In fall 2012, SMU students are attending the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, as part of a political communication studies program in Meadows School of the Arts. They are attending with Professor Rita Kirk, director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility, and Dan Schill, assistant professor of communication studies, who are conducting “Dial Test” research for CNN.

Speakers’ Corner

An update from Amie at the Democratic National Convention:  Who would've known that downtown Charlotte would temporarily turn into Speakers' Corner? Protests show the power of freedom of speech, as I have witnessed them on an SMU study abroad trip to London, as well as this week at the Democratic National Convention. Free speech, in the form of protests that emphasize debate and discussion, are much more prevalent in the United Kingdom than in the United States. Areas such as Hyde Park in London are solely dedicated to the showcasing of all interests, and debate is welcomed and expected. From women protesting the bank bailouts dressed in pink satin boas and carrying champagne flutes to adolescents passing out brochures on [...]

2012-09-06T18:42:48+00:00 September 6th, 2012|Communication Studies, National Conventions 2012|

Security at the convention

An update from Amie at the Democratic National Convention: Working at the Democratic National Convention that includes the President, Vice President, First Lady and countless Congressmen and women has given me many jaw-dropping experiences, especially with security. Our credentials On our first day, the security perimeter was already in existence, and the Secret Service conducted a security sweep of the arena that lasted over twelve hours and forced the relocation of many pre-Convention operations. Snipers have been spotted, motorcades are frequent, and it is the norm to see Secret Service agents with their distinct lapel pins on their left suit collar. Our credentials, which include passes on our lanyards to grant us access to multiple areas throughout the [...]

2012-09-06T18:36:50+00:00 September 6th, 2012|Communication Studies, National Conventions 2012|

The power of The Shirt

An update from Devin at the Democratic National Convention: Being a runner for CNN has its benefits. Aside from the unparalleled learning experience and the incredible access I have to the political process, I also get to wear a navy blue T-shirt emblazoned with “CNN” on the front and “RUNNER” on the back in large white letters. There is certainly something to be said about the amount of amusement the shirt provides while out running messages for various CNN journalists.  Here are some experiences my fellow runners and I have had (with a touch of sarcasm) while sporting what will henceforth be dubbed “The Shirt:” During a protest march, a protestor pushed pamphlets in my face, looking to recruit a [...]

2012-09-06T18:28:15+00:00 September 6th, 2012|Communication Studies, National Conventions 2012|

Talking with history

An update from Lauren at the Democratic National Convention: A few nights ago, I was allowed the privilege to hear first lady Michelle Obama’s history-making convention speech. From where I stood in the CNN press box, I was able to clearly hear the powerful words she spoke about the value of family and hard work. As a young African-American woman, I was touched by how warmly she was received by the enthusiastic delegates who packed the arena. No matter one’s political beliefs, the strength and grace that emanated from her onstage was inspiring, and I felt so proud of her. As I watched, I couldn’t help but reflect on the road that led her to this point and how the [...]

2012-09-06T18:18:37+00:00 September 6th, 2012|Communication Studies, National Conventions 2012|

Behind the scenes

An update from Hannah at the Republican National Convention: Today James, Anthony and I met with recent SMU graduate Corey (CJ) Steadman. Steadman is Deputy Director of Production for the 2012 Republican National Convention. In this position, he helps coordinate events backstage and on the convention floor and makes sure the event runs smoothly. Our visit with CJ didn’t follow the normal protocol. Instead of the standard Q&A, the meeting began with a tour on the stage, before venturing below the stage to gain a better understanding of the production aspect of the gig. Along the way, he shared his experiences at SMU and his experiences after graduation. Steadman said a key aspect of his post-graduate success was the preparation [...]

2012-09-06T18:15:44+00:00 August 31st, 2012|Communication Studies, National Conventions 2012|

The Olympiad of politics

An update from Savannah at the Republican National Convention:  Let's face it — people are tired of politics. Five days ago The Wall Street Journal released a poll claiming that the approval rating of Congress has matched an all-time low of 12 percent –  not something to be particularly proud of. But this shouldn’t be the time to change the channel. As of right now, the biggest show in politics has come upon us. Like the Olympics, this quadrennial event is a logistical behemoth; although, unlike with the Olympics, we largely discredit the work that goes into them. Since getting here, I have realized that this isn’t something that just materializes on the nightly news to fill the news hole. Instead, [...]

2012-08-30T15:34:35+00:00 August 30th, 2012|Communication Studies, National Conventions 2012|

First impressions

 An update from Amanda at the Republican National Convention: Out on the veranda, your motley crew of cameramen, stage lights and microphones border the Tampa Convention Center. With perfectly posed palm trees and a crisp Tampa Bay Harbor, viewers might even forget that Hurricane Isaac is headed our way. Cable news appears to be a seamless production. With affiliates in New York and headquarters in Atlanta, CNN streamlines live coverage of the convention with special guest interviews. Whom, you might ask, does CNN solicit to interview at this crucial convention? My job here at CNN, as intern extraordinaire, is to coordinate the swift entrance, interview, and exit of CNN’s VIP guest interviewees. On paper my duties include escorting the guests [...]

2012-08-30T15:36:01+00:00 August 30th, 2012|Communication Studies, National Conventions 2012|

The practiced journalist

An update from Marc at the Republican National Convention: Putting an event like the Republican National Convention on the air is eerily similar to putting a play on stage. Dozens of tech people sprinkled throughout the forum tinker with lights and equipment, the talent sits patiently backstage waiting for their cues, and a few producers make sure every single second stays true to their vision. The news does not just happen. It is planned, rehearsed, and executed. I know this because I was a part of that rehearsal. At first, I was sent down to the floor to hold a place so that the cameramen knew where to look. However, the anchor I was standing in for was behind schedule, [...]

An SMU alum spotted!

An update from Marc at the Republican National Convention: Meet Sara McDonald. A former broadcast journalism and theatre major from SMU, Sara now works as a Senior Producer for CNN International. More specifically, Sara works closely with the show “International Desk” with anchor Hala Gorani. The show airs at 1 p.m. Eastern time since the primary viewer audience resides in Europe. Of course, Sara might not be making such a worldwide impact without a little help from SMU. She says she left her alma mater well prepared to intern with CNN within a year of her graduation. She stayed with CNN for 15 years and then moved to CNN International in May of 2010.

2012-08-29T19:40:07+00:00 August 29th, 2012|Communication Studies, National Conventions 2012|

Texas pride at the convention

In fall 2012, SMU students are attending the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, as part of a political communication studies program in Meadows School of the Arts. They are attending with Professor Rita Kirk, director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility, and Dan Schill, assistant professor of communication studies, who are conducting "Dial Test" research for CNN.

2012-08-29T19:36:11+00:00 August 29th, 2012|Communication Studies, National Conventions 2012|