Student Media Members Spend Weekend Covering Inauguration

Eight student media leaders from Phoenix14News and The Pendulum have spent the last four days in Washington, D.C., covering the historic inauguration of Barack Obama.


Pittman and Ochsner prepare to do their live shot from Reagan National airport.
students in attendance from Phoenix14 were sophomores Nick Ochsner and Kirsten Bennet, juniors Randy Gyllenhaal and Drake Springer, and senior Mitch Pittman. The Pendulum sent senior Olivia Hubert-Allen, junior Ashley Barnas and freshman Derek Noble.

The students braved the frigid temperatures and spent the weekend gathering features about the people in attendance, the vendors selling Obama paraphernalia, the star-studded concert, the public transportation congestion and the business owners who are benefitting from an influx of more than a million people to the district.

“I’m grateful to be in D.C. to cover this historic inauguration,” Noble said. “My favorite part of the trip so far has been meeting the people, finding out where they’re from and what their stories are.”

The media groups also interviewed newly elected North Carolina U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan in person, and the The Pendulum students also had a picture taken with Sen. Richard Burr and did a phone interview with Rep. Howard Coble, who serves the sixth district of North Carolina and is attending his sixth inauguration today.

But those experiences were just a prelude to Tuesday’s main event, the end-game for student media members who have been covering the presidential election since last year’s Republican debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C. They arose in the early morning hours and arrived on The Mall in Washington no later than 5 a.m. to cover Obama’s swearing in.

“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Hubert-Allen, a journalism and political science double major. “Being here, it’s hard not to feel like I’m a part of history. I hope that The Pendulum coverage helps students to feel a part of something so big.”

The Pendulum provided continuous updates to its blog and posted stories and videos on its Web site every day throughout the weekend. Their work will culminate with a special inauguration insert that will be part of Thursday’s edition of The Pendulum.

Phoenix14 went live from Reagan National airport and from Bennett’s parents’ house on Monday night. They also produced an inauguration special back on campus, and the students in Washington did live shots for that special show, as well.

“It’s been a great opportunity to experience the life of a professional journalist,” said Ochsner, a broadcast major. “Over the past three days, we’ve gotten to interact with professionals, use the same equipment as them and observe how they do their job.”

To see the students’ work, please click the links at the top right of the page.

Barnas and Noble interview a street vendor, who was selling Obama pins and hats.