Did you get to see both CNN Presidential Primary debates held on June 3rd and June 5th from New Hampshire? If not, don’t fret, there are plenty of ways that you can still see the debates. CNN has provided both debates online for you to view. You can also find the debates on Saint Anselm College’s website and on BlipTV.
The Set at Sullivan Arena
CNN transformed Saint Anselm College’s Sullivan Arena, typically used for ice hockey, into a set fit for a future president. 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. blogged Brian Lawson.
Crews worked around the clocked to make sure that the set was ready; an effort that involved the college’s staff, students, and the CNN staff. WMUR has posted two slide shows (setting up and preparing) showing the transformation.
On the Thursday before the debate, Laura Rossi blogged: As I stood watching all the action, there were three rounds of lights raised to the ceiling, a podium set up, and the 40-foot backdrop frame completely assembled in front of my eyes. Several large red and white vinyl cubes sat like gigantic blocks waiting to be added to the skeleton-like frame. She also posted a podcast of an interview conducted with CNN’s Vice President of Weekend Public Affairs programs, Lucy Spiegel, about the stage and her role in the debate planning process.
In another podcast that same morning, Doug Minor, talks with CNN’s lighting designer, Mike Poley (from the DC Bureau) about the setup of the area for the debate.
A Student’s Perspective
An excerpt from a blog post on Saint Anselm College’s website:
Some 51 Saint Anselm College students have been working closely with CNN on debate preparations since late last week. These students and their 10-hour plus work days have played a critical role in making the debates a reality. Students have worked with CNN's news anchors, correspondents, set designers, marketing and public relation staff, and others running errands, standing in for set checks (lighting, sound, video), moving sets, and many other important roles.
In the meantime, they've got to know many of CNN's on-air talent and executives and received an insiders view of all the work that goes into staging a major event like CNN's Presidential Primary Debates.
Cory True '09, a junior politics major from Augusta, Maine (and guest student blogger), had the opportunity to interview two students about their experiences working the debates. The interviews have been posted in a podcast.
Stephanie Zanotti, a student, also blogged about her experience as a “Runner”, posting: At a CNN reception following Tuesday night’s debate I was fortunate enough to chat with Wolf Blitzer. Our conversation was the perfect way to end one of the most exciting events of my life. I described to him the immense appreciation I now have for what goes on behind a major media event, TV shows, and even commercials, Wolf replied “I hope it doesn’t spoil the magic for you.” When I responded “No, it greatly enhanced it” he answered, “Then we’ve done our job haven’t we?”
I admire the way that Saint Anselm College handled the pressures of hosting a news event that would be seen around the world. The college, community, students, and CNN staff have provided those of us who were sitting at home an insight to the sights and sounds surrounding an important step in the election process. More than just documenting an event, they’ve provided the world with a behind the scenes view of a little piece of American history.
If you want to see more pictures from the debates, photos from students and CNN staff have been posted on Flickr. Also, the CNN All Access podcast gives you a behind the scenes look with Kate Lunger, Senior Producer, CNN Special Events, as they setup for the debate on Sunday.
In past elections, the CNN Express bus has made many appearances at political events on the way to election day. Its frequently manned with various CNN journalists to travel around the country. Well, this year, CNN has a brand new CNN Express bus and were providing tours of it while it was stationed at the New Hampshire debates.
It looks so nice and new now, but I want to see the pictures of the inside of the bus 502 days from now (the day after the 2008 Presidential election).
One more item before I leave you tonight, can you name this CNN journalist?