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C-SPAN rolls onto campus

Kaitlyn Lyle / Lantern reporter

The Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network Road to the White House Campaign 2012 bus rolled into Ohio State’s Wexner Plaza Wednesday to promote knowledge about the 2012 election.

The bus travels around the country, bringing people information about C-SPAN’s coverage of the 2012 presidential election campaign. Inside the bus, there are interactive and multimedia activities that visitors can explore.

The bus visits high schools, middle schools and city halls as well as college campuses, said C-SPAN marketing representative Jennifer Curran.

C-SPAN is a non-profit organization, launched in 1979 and funded by the cable industry. Six cents are deducted from every cable subscriber’s bill and sent to fund C-SPAN’s coverage of politics. The company’s political coverage is unfiltered and without commentary, according to Curran.

“We are able to show commercial-free coverage because we don’t have to rely on advertising revenue,” Curran said.

This funding also pays for the interactive bus to tour around the country. There is no cost for people to participate in the bus program.

“As we move forward to election day and campaign events we’re going to be attending the Iowa caucus, New Hampshire primary debate convention, election day and Inauguration Day,” Curran said.

The bus tours the country for 10 months, taking breaks around Christmas and in summer. Staffed by a crew of C-SPAN marketing representatives and a driver, crew members rotate every other week, according to Curran.

The bus program began in 1993. The Campaign 2012 bus, launched in August, is the third to tour the country; the first two have been retired.

“(The bus) is always being current with what we’re focusing on promotional-wise. Right now it’s the White House Campaign 2012 bus and we decided to focus more on our resources and design the bus to be more interactive for visitors.” Curran said.

The front of the bus has three televisions playing various C-SPAN programming and four touch-screens that allow visitors to interact with C-SPAN’s online media content. In the back of the vehicle is an education center, with a smart board and seating, used mainly when the bus visits high schools and middle schools, said Steve Devoney, a C-SPAN media specialist.

Students who visited the bus took part in trivia quizzes on touch-screens about the branches of government and election procedures. They also explored online media on the smart board.

Other stations inside the bus included laptops with links to C-SPAN’s social media websites, online and broadcast coverage of the 2012 election process, C-SPAN’s history programming, and access to the company’s three radio stations via an iPad.

Garey Berry, a first-year graduate student, said he thought the C-SPAN radio application would be convenient to have on his iPad.

Ben Burgett, a first-year in business, said he usually reads the news instead of watching broadcast coverage, but liked the online resources he found while inside the multimedia bus.

“I kind of do a lot of online coverage tracking. I haven’t tracked a lot through C-SPAN at all, but so far I like what I’ve seen. Their timeline lets you track previous elections,” Burgett said.

The links to online C-SPAN resources like the online video archive caught students’ attention as well. The company’s video library has more than 170,000 hours of C-SPAN footage, dating back to 1987, according to Curran.

“It’s a great resource for college students for papers,” said Kabe Eichenauer, a first-year in education.

Eichenauer said he liked that he could read information on all the presidential candidates.

“Too many times, the media focuses on two or three candidates. Like right now, it seems like it’s Rick Perry and (Mitt) Romney. But this gives you a chance to look at everybody,” Eichenauer said.

Of course, the Campaign 2012 bus still has some time left before its run is over. The bus’ next stop is in Indiana, according to the C-SPAN’s website.

However, even with the interactive media coverage it provides for students, some still remain unsure of their political decisions.

“I haven’t totally chosen yet. It’s going to be a very intense primary race. Now that Florida’s pushing out their primary, New Hampshire and Iowa and all them are going to have a battle royale, so we’ll see how everything goes,” said Evin Bachelor, a first-year in political science.

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