Two college students share their campaign experiences
by Timothy Wood
(Photo: Jeff Ahlquist)
Connors and Rodriguez began by explaining the nature of being a journalist during the campaigns and elections. “You are the press,” Connors said, and because of that people show respect. They went on to describe what being on the campaign trail entailed. First they were involved in the New Hampshire primary. They got to be near and interact with the candidates and hear them talk about how they would run the country. They also visited each candidates’ headquarters. Before being on the campaign trail, they had not realized that New Hampshire is really the place to be during elections.
Next they went to both the Republican and Democratic national conventions in Tampa and Charlotte, respectively. They saw celebrities, talked to delegates and representatives, and got very little sleep, and both thought that the experience was very difficult. “It’s pure adrenaline,” Connors explained, “and it’s do or die.” Rodriguez remarked further, “you’re on the go, all the time.” Also, each convention was very different. There were many protestors at the Democratic convention, while at the Republican convention there were very few. The Republican convention was very organized and strict, while the Democratic convention was more free flowing and less stringent. While the approaches of each party were different, Connors and Rodriguez both agreed that both conventions were great experiences.
The pair of reporters also went to Dixville Notch, New Hampshire for the first vote of the primary elections, and the inauguration of President Obama. Rodriguez also mentioned an instance where, at the inauguration, she tripped and fell, but got up and kept running to go get a story, showing the determination it takes to do the job.
Both were published in various New Hampshire newspapers, and one of Connors’ stories made the front page of the Union Leader. “You get a real sense of accomplishment; it’s like you’re a part of history,” Rodriguez reflected, and Connors finished by saying, “You can really make a name for yourself in the industry.” Though it was difficult, both thought that it was a very rare opportunity and the experience will stay with them their whole lives.