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UVM Student Media Covers President Obama

April 9, 2012

The Vermont Cynic and UVMtv received press passes to cover President Obama’s visit to the University of Vermont. But it turned out that some non-credentialed news staff were able to capture some of the earliest details of the event.

By Brent Summers

Cynic Editor-in-Chief

Covering President Obama’s trip to UVM was an incredible experience. Due to the enormity of the event, we gathered our reporters and covered many different angles of the President’s trip.While many local media outlets simply gained press coverage to Obama’s speech, our strategy was to cover what was happening on our campus in a larger scope.

We stationed reporters inside the event without press credentials, we had reporters covering the protests outside of campus and we had reporters attend a reception afterward. Personally, it was a great experience to see the Cynic taking control of such a large event.

While inside the press room, where all members of the media were held before the President’s speech, an amazing thing happened. The event started and the volunteers announced that the media would only be allowed in for Obama’s speech and would miss the pre-event coverage. While this was upsetting for most of the reporters, the Cynic had it covered.

As the pre-event started, all the media were suddenly surprised to see that the Vermont Cynic was the only outlet with reporters inside the pre-event as we tweeted out the news. I overheard one local reporter say: “I can’t believe I’m retweeting the *expletive* Vermont Cynic.” But this demonstrates just how far we have come as an organization. The Cynic is proving that we have access to the same tools as the professional media and are more adept at covering on-campus news in the digital age.

Through our use of Twitter and email/text communication that day, we covered the event more comprehensively then many professional reporters, and we don’t even have a journalism school. It was an amazing experience. My staff proved to me that we have the ability to compete with local media with much greater resources, and that speaks the the talent of our people.

Among UVMtv’s takeway for the day was a video that has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, leading to better viewership on UVMtv’s YouTube channel.

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