Behind the scenes of the CNBC Republican debate
When I first received the assignment to cover the Republican Debate at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, I didn't know what to expect. I had covered political events and political figures' speeches in the past, but I had never attended a debate.
The day before the CNBC debate, I visited Oakland University for a media meeting. I was given the opportunity to get a look at the “Media Filing Center,” a large auditorium filled with hundreds of desks and workspace for journalists. At the meeting, I found out that members of the media would be listening to the debate through television screens.
When I got home, I prepared the materials I needed: a laptop, camera, microphone, tape recorder, press pad, and credentials.
I arrived at the debate four hours before the start time. I prepared my article, spoke to other journalists, and observed the busy filing center. From campus newspapers to international news stations, hundreds of reporters, anchors, and production crew surrounded the auditorium.
Large lighting structures and cameras were precisely positioned throughout the area. My desk was situated between MSNBC and FOX News. Periodically, a reporter would be given a cue to do a live shot. It was very neat to watch what happened behind the scenes!
At exactly 8 p.m., the debate began. The lights and cameras turned off, but the reporters were still in tune. They carefully watched the debate, taking note of the powerful replies and flaws of each candidate.
When Rick Perry couldn’t name the third department he would eliminate as President, a few reporters laughed, while others took notes of the incident.
As the debate came to an end, members of the press made their way into a small section where the candidates would come and speak to the media. Texas Governor Rick Perry was the first person to arrive.
Producers, reporters, and photojournalists ran towards Perry. The first words that came out of his mouth were, “Whoa, easy.” It just goes to show you how aggressive some journalists’ can be!
After speaking to Perry, former Senator Rick Santorum, and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, I packed up my belongings and headed back home. By the time I left, it was midnight.
The Republican debate showed me how fast-paced the job of a journalist can be. I learned that a journalist has to be a person who can ask tough questions, adjust their fast-paced schedules, and never take “no” for an answer. As my editor told me, “Keep your head on a swivel and keep your eyes and ears open – you never know what you might see or hear!”
Be sure to check out Charlie's story from the CNBC debate!
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Photos: Texas Governor Rick Perry takes questions after the CNBC debate in Michigan; a view of the work stations set up backstage at the debate. (Photos courtesy Charlie Kadado)