My inauguration weekend
Being at the inauguration is very important to me because it completes the election cycle I have been writing about since the primaries. I’ve learned a lot about the issues and the candidates in the process, and witnessing the President taking the oath of office will be the final page in my election book.
My excitement doubled when I heard that I would also be covering the Kids’ Inaugural Concert, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden. The concert took place on Saturday before the inauguration and it highlighted support for the military spouses and children. Katy Perry, Alicia Keys, Fun., Brad Paisley, and host Nick Cannon performed for a huge audience at the Convention Center.
My dad and I arrived two hours in advance to pick up our credentials, talk to some young spectators, and take in the atmosphere. I was so eager to hear the music and see all of the entertainers, I could hardly contain myself! The venue was absolutely packed with thousands of excited kids who felt just like me.
Just as the show was about to start, I received a message from Dante that Wolf Blitzer wanted to interview me live on CNN’s The Situation Room. Although I was sad that I didn’t get to see the concert, I was very much looking forward to this new opportunity.
My dad and I jumped in a cab and headed off to CNN’s improvised studio on the National Mall. Dante was already waiting for us and we only had a minute to get prepared. Soon after I was getting my hair and makeup done, and it was time to go on camera.
On “stage” I was joined by another kid reporter from a different organization, and we were interviewed by Wolf Blitzer and his co-hosts.
This was my first time on live TV, and it was so different from how I thought it was going to be! The (temporary) studio was outside, but it wasn’t cold because they had heaters everywhere. Also, there were not as many people managing the broadcast as I would have thought. In all, there were a little more than a dozen crew members. That included producers, cameramen, technicians, audio staff, and makeup artists.
Time flew while I was in front of the cameras, and less than five minutes later it was all over. I couldn’t even remember the questions or what I answered, but my friends called me and congratulated me after the segment aired.
Half an hour later my parents and I were in Chinatown eating dinner when a woman approached our table and asked me if I was just on CNN. I was beside myself! She told me that I did a wonderful job.
On Sunday afternoon, I had an interview with FOX News. This time, the interview took place on the eighth-floor roof terrace of the building FOX's Washington bureau is located in. Producer Allison Pandolfo was the interviewer and the set up was different. It was a taped interview so I felt less pressure than on live TV.
Once we were done, Dante and I had a meeting over lunch to discuss our plans for the Inauguration day.
Monday will be a day full of events and emotions, and I
can’t wait to take part in this historic event!
—Kid Reporter Hannah Prensky
Photos: (top) The Capitol Building on Sunday, Jan. 20, undergoing final preparations for Inauguration Day. (middle) Kid Reporter Hannah Prensky with Wolf Blitzer and Mallory, a student reporter with National Geographic Kids. (Photos: Dante A. Ciampaglia)