The bus came by and UNC Asheville students got on, to talk about the 2020 election, that is.
C-SPAN chose UNCA to host their mobile classroom bus as one of the stops on their 2020 Battleground States tour. The tour comprised of 10 states that, according to C-SPAN, will be closely contested in the 2020 election.
“We did a couple things. We were in the classroom, we did a little presentation with students talking about C-SPAN resources and our video library, how to use us in the classroom,” said Doug Hemmig, community relations representative at C-SPAN. “We’re also opening up our bus and we’re showcasing how they can use it as they get ready to vote for the first time.”
The 45-foot C-SPAN bus contained iPads full of information regarding different topics and information pertinent to the 2020 election. The vehicle also served as a production studio.
“I heard about the C-SPAN truck that was coming to campus and I read the email. I am interested in possibly majoring in political science. I think it is a really important time in our election campaign,” said Caitlin Tricomi, a 19-year-old sophomore at UNCA.
Students were encouraged to be interviewed by C-SPAN to be featured on their social media channels. They were asked what issues were important to them regarding the upcoming election.
“I think it’s really important to be an informed citizen especially as a college student. A lot of the knowledge that you are getting in class, I think, is important to think about how this is going to impact you in the future,” Tricomi said.
Since some portions of the population on campus are 18 and under, the 2020 election may be their first time voting.
“I have some ideas of who I am voting for, but I am certainly still not completely sure on who I want to vote for quite yet. This bus definitely helps inform me,” Tricomi said.
In addition to providing information, C-SPAN also provided opportunities.
“We have internship opportunities at C-SPAN, by semester or by summer,” Hemmig said. “You can come to Washington and really explore something you are interested in and passionate about.”
The bus was stocked with informational cards detailing different internship opportunities within the company. C-SPAN also conducted informal interviews with interested applicants.
“You are not going to get coffee and donuts at C-SPAN. You are going to be a very active member of our team because we love our interns, the energy and their passion they bring to the network,” Hemmig said.
When describing a typical day as a C-SPAN intern, Hemmig said one day you may be doing research, one day you may be traveling with the C-SPAN bus, there are lots of cool things you can do to really enhance your career
“We are looking for primarily history, government, journalism majors,” Hemmig said in regards to interested intern applicants.
While their television content focuses mainly on politics, their website and social media presence cover important events in history, as well as a video library with hours of archived footage completely free for public use.
“C-SPAN is a primary source and people do not seem to realize that,” Hemmig said.
According to their website, C-SPAN debuted on March 9, 1979. Their mission statement was to provide news content that allowed viewers to make up their own mind.
“It’s unique as a network to be a primary source and the reason we are a primary source is because we shoot things in a very simple way. We do not edit, we just lay it all out there,” Hemming said.
Currently, there are three C-SPAN channels on the air.
“C-SPAN One focuses on the House of Representatives, C-SPAN Two focuses on the Senate and C-SPAN Three focuses on a lot of live committee hearings– a lot of live events going on in Washington,” Hemmig said.
Hemmig credits their partnership with Charter Spectrum Communications as the reason they are able to provide raw, unedited media.
“C-SPAN has been a partner of Charter for many, many years,” said Patty Michael, senior director of communications for Charter Spectrum Southern Region.
Their partnership is so unique, according to Hemmig, because of the way Charter funds C-SPAN.
“Six cents of your monthly cable bill across the country goes to us. Charter pays us to provide content and they do not make any money off of C-SPAN, they just provide it as a public service to see what is going on with your government,” Hemmig said.
In a country plagued by fake news, the C-SPAN bus rolled in like a breath of fresh air.
Students interested in applying for an internship can apply here: cspan.applicantpool.com/jobs/