National TV production center tours at UNF


C-SPAN’s national tour bus rolled up beside the UNF Arena Jan. 30 for two hours of one-on-one time with students, staff and faculty.

Whole classes, as well as individual on-lookers, were invited to take tours of the fully-operational mobile television and production vehicle, watch and listen to a presentation on the differences between news networks, and take home C-SPAN memorabilia such as pens, rulers, bags and mini-copies of the constitution.

The Spinnaker sat down with C-SPAN marketing representative Rodee Schneider between his presentations to talk about the history and aims of the bus tour.

What’s the C-SPAN bus schedule in a nutshell?
“The bus really just keeps on rolling. We travel for 11 months out of the year, making stops at colleges and schools, libraries, bookstores, book festivals and social studies conferences.

During the course of the last week, we’ve been going to middle schools and high schools as well as a resort and the Zora Neale Hurston festival.

We’re going to be visiting 100 schools in 100 days, talking to students about C-SPAN and our coverage ofpolitics and the new [Barack] Obama administration.

So, there’s a ton of stops we’ll go to; anywhere there’s going to be people interested in books
or politics, we really try to hit that up.“

What’s the history of the C-SPAN bus tours, and when did the current tour begin?
“We started [this tour] last Wednesday, but the [first] tour was actually launched 16 years ago with the C-SPAN buses as a way for us to interact with the people who watch the network and also to talk with those who might not know about us but are still interested in what’s going on in the government.”

What is the bus offering to students, staff and whoever else happens to step on?
“What we generally do on the bus is offer a tour of our mobile operations. The bus is a mobile television and production vehicle. We shoot live television from the bus sometimes. This past week, we shot some live interviews with students at a high school in Orlando who attended the inauguration.

Today we’re shooting six interviews with UNF professors for BookTV, which is a program on C-SPAN2 on the weekends. But when they sit down, we’ll also share with them some of our free resources and some of the differences between our network and some of the other television networks, how we cover things versus how other networks cover things.

Not to say one is better or worse than the other one, just as a basis of comparison.

We show events in their entirety and really in their long form and try to let viewers decide what it is they’re seeing as opposed to having someone feed them the news and tell them what they should be viewing.“

What else is going on while the C-SPAN bus is parked at UNF?
“We’re talking with some Communication classes, really any students who might be popping by who are interested. We’re shooting interviews with plenty of professors here, so we’re trying to jam pack some education and some production in two hours on a non-warm day. We sometimes will shoot YouTube questions with our flip camera, asking students what issues they want the president to address in the new administration.”

What does C-SPAN hope to accomplish by doing this tour?
“What we’re looking to accom-plish is to inform viewers, educate students and let them know about some of our free resources [like the C-SPAN Web site], also getting some interviews and production on the road. As a non-profit, noncommercial network – we’re funded through the cable television industry – it’s one of the few outlets that we have to communicate our mission to the public.”

Compiled by Rebecca McKinnon.