EXTRA! October surprise: Politicos visit campus
Wednesday?s rally presented journalists with an interesting challenge. With so many students owning digital cameras and writing in their online journals/blogs, thousands of people would be documenting this event. In response to the proliferation of independent coverage, I decided that I would try to get a few exclusive interviews with some of the celebrities coming to our campus. There was only one small problem: I couldn?t get any approval.
No matter to whom I spoke, I was unable to get permission to perform any interviews with Senator Kerry, Theresa, Bon Jovi, or Ted Danson. You would think that being the head of the school newspaper would carry some weight, but it remained that I had the same access as any other member of the local press. So I would have to be creative.
I got my press credentials a little after 3 pm and entered the area at the same time as the rest of the press. I realized that the best way to get an interview would be to enter CFA, where I thought the speakers would be waiting. Once inside, I met some University Advancement people who were responsible for coordinating with the traveling press corps. I thought I was on the right path.
After an hour of waiting, I got bored. The traveling press hadn?t arrived yet and the secret service officers, who were extremely nice, kept mentioning that they were going to "sweep" the building soon, and that I wouldn?t want to get "swept." I started asking around until I found the person responsible for coordinating the press, Jamie, who told me to follow her.
Jamie informed me that the press would arrive with the Kerry entourage around 6 and that as soon as they got there, I would be unable to stay in CFA. Quite simply, the national press didn?t want a bum like me hanging around. I was escorted out.
Somewhat dejected, I went to rejoin the rest of the Tartan staff in the press area. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw President Cohon taking his picture with - bingo! - Franco Harris. I dodged a few staffers and went to the restricted area where they were standing. This was my opportunity to ask him a question. I tapped him on the shoulder.
The Tartan: Mr. Harris, we?re pleased to have you on campus. What do you have to say about Carnegie Mellon?
Franco Harris: Carnegie Mellon: Football powerhouse.
I cracked a smile and realized that this hall-of-famer who?s taken his fair share of tackles still had a sense of humor. Either that, or he thinks we?re Pitt. Regardless, I was planning how to get to Bon Jovi when I turned to my right and saw Ted Danson go through security.