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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Daily Wildcat covering Obama? Yes we can!

    In the months before graduation, every student probably asks themselves if their college education has actually prepared them for what it will be like in the real world.

    Three graduating seniors, photo editor Sheldon Smith, multimedia editor Kate Saavedra and I were given an opportunity to ask ourselves that very question, in one of the biggest media circuses imaginable – a speech by President Obama.

    After days spent hunting down credentials, our journey began in the wee hours of the morning as we left the Daily Wildcat newsroom for a red-eye drive to Phoenix at 2 a.m. Dressed in our best, and carrying more note pads, voice recorders, extension cords and memory chips then we would ever possibly need, the three of us set out in a quest to prove ourselves as young professionals.

    The drive to Phoenix passed in an excited and tired blur, and before I knew it, we were bypassing the line of spectators lined up outside Dobson High School and cruising right into the press parking lot at 4 a.m.

    Equipment in tow, and thrilled that our laminated press badges were good enough for the secret service, we entered the high school where the president would speak a few hours later. The room where we were setting up still had the vague resemblance of a gymnasium, but now carried an air of intimidating regality. We engaged in a battle royale against other roaming media to secure the best spot for our equipment.

    We were then kicked out of the building and spent a very long, restless, three hours shivering in the car while the secret service swept the campus.

    When the clock had finally ticked down to 8:30 a.m., we entered the building once again with rising anxiety and excitement, each running off to our own areas to get to work. By now the audience was filing in, and the amount of press had tripled.

    Surrounded by a sea of media (national, local and a few lucky schmucks like myself) I wandered around trying to look official and busy, stealing nervous glances at Kate and Sheldon perched in the press bleachers aiming their cameras for the moment President Obama would appear on stage.

    I was rubbing elbows with professional journalists, and I felt both totally out of my league and viciously determined to keep up.

    Could this be the clip that gets me a job? What if I miss my moment? What if I freeze up?

    I finally built up my resolve, told myself ‘it’s now or never’, and snaked through the crowd of journalists until I had pushed my way to the very front railing.

    And there I was, standing about 50 feet from the President of the United States, audio recorder and note pad in one hand, camera in the other. A sense of calm professionalism swept over me as I focused in on everything I learned, and everything that got me to that moment.

    Every student probably asks themselves if their college education has actually prepared them for what it will be like in the real world, and coming from a student journalist who pushed her way to the front – I say, you’ll never know until you try.

    – Cody Calamaio is news editor of the Daily Wildcat. She can be reached at news@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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