Before the vice-presidential debate at Centre College, Boyle County High School senior Katie Noelker had never really considered a career as a journalist.
But that changed when Noelker, along with seven other students from Boyle and Danville, worked closely with C-SPAN professionals on the day of the Oct. 11 debate.
“I play the piano and cello and always wanted to take my career in that direction,” Noelker said.
On the day of the debate, local students met and interviewed average citizens as well as famous political and television personalities such as U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Bret Baier of Fox News. They had full media credentials and were able to visit the Spin Room after the debate.
“We really got to see what the networks go through to report the news,” said Danville junior Andrew McKinney. “I feel pretty fortunate that I got chosen for such a cool opportunity and that the school trusted me enough to represent Danville High School as a whole.”
McKinney plans to major in political science in college and now is considering pursuing television journalism as a career.
Emma Jackson, a Danville junior, said the C-SPAN experience made her much more interested in film. She is creating a mini documentary about the students’ experiences and will submit it to one of her C-SPAN mentors for possible web or television broadcast.
“The C-SPAN event allowed students in our community to collaborate in a very unique way,” said Boyle Superintendent Mike LaFavers. “I believe this opportunity enhanced their understanding of the historical significance of the debate.”
Though none of the students who worked with C-SPAN will be old enough to vote in the 2012 presidential election, they will not forget their vice-presidential debate experience any time soon.
“Everyone with C-SPAN was really generous and willing to teach us all about what they do,” said Danville sophomore Austin Barringer, who takes journalism classes at the school.
Boyle senior Alexis Draut said she was amazed at how nice even famous people were to the students.
“Not many people get the privilege to get into the Spin Room,” Draut said. “We are all so fortunate.”
Other students who participated were Cathryn Ellis and Miles Littlefield of BCHS, and Russ Meurer of DHS.