A lot goes into making a debate
Issue date: 10/31/07 Section: Debate Day
"It's so much," Stephanie Nelms, a junior producer for local news station NBC 10, said regarding preparation for the debate.
Nelms went over show duties with NBC affiliates Monday night, and then to continue work on projects that still needed to be done for Tuesday's debate coverage. She also assisted in running the Nightly News with Brian Williams broadcast from roof of MacAlister Hall.
Aside from the bigger, more noticeable activity occurring on campus, she noted that behind-the-scenes action included completing numerous errands, coordinating different news bureaus from cities like New York and Washington, D.C., securing phone and satellite feeds, and assisting anchors and correspondents who were arriving and preparing for their interviews.
Rick Jefferson, senior technical Production Manager for MSNBC, said that production preparation will vary depending on location and the type of set-up.
"The auditorium is more intense," he said.
He also mentioned that because the debate will be taking place in the Main Auditorium, special care is needed so that the location's arrangements are of the highest quality. For instance, one day was devoted to staging and lighting and another day to camera angles and satellite configuration.
Based out of Rockefeller Center in New York City, Jefferson manages MSNBC Live Remotes, which is a division that specializes in going on-location. He travels with a regular set of assistants that are knowledgeable about the live, remote production process.
Even before the set-up of stages and lighting, Jefferson travels to locations for site surveys to determine the best location for the given production; this usually will happen two weeks prior to a planned event.
For the morning MSNBC show and Hardball with Chris Matthews broadcasting from Drexel, the stage was erected to frame the quad's fountain and utilize it as an appealing background.
Jefferson was in Philadelphia for the network production of the Republican National Convention in 2000. As for his production experience with Drexel in particular, he said, "Drexel's been extremely cooperative."
Chandler Simms, a senior majoring in film and video, along with Drexel's television station, DUTV, attended the debate watch party in the Mandell Theatre. As the cameraman, he was there to not only cover the students and their reaction to the debate coverage, but also to cover how other media outlets were handling the day's stories.
Throughout the day, DUTV was able to speak with CNN reporters and local news stations, and capped the night off with what Simms said was essential to successful coverage: filming the candidates as they spoke to the Mandell Theatre crowd after the debate.