Saint Anselm College TV Studio Provides Unique Opportunities for Students
February 16, 2017
The New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP) at Saint Anselm College is known for providing opportunities for students of all majors to be actively engaged in politics. The ReadyCam studio, housed in the NHIOP, gives students first-hand experience working with journalists, activists, politicians, and subject matter experts who appear on major television networks. The studio is run by VideoLink, a company based out of Newton, Mass., which provides video production services.
Saint Anselm students work as handlers in the television studio. They are responsible for welcoming guests, attending to their needs, placing microphones and earpieces, and ensuring the entire process runs smoothly. They organize the basic logistics, but also develop professional skills and establish relationships with guests.
"The VideoLink studio offers our students an amazing experience to be on the front-lines with major journalists and politicians," says the Institute's Executive Director, Neil Levesque. "Because of it, the Institute conducts more presidential campaign activity than any other location in the United States. The student handlers have the incredible opportunity of getting to meet these guests, learn more about behind-the-scenes political activity and network."
The ability to work with guests from various political backgrounds is also a central component of a handler's job. Often, students may work with someone who does not represent their personal political beliefs. As Andrew Shue, a junior politics major from Saudi Arabia, says, "Working in the studio helps you learn to be objective when you need to be and stay professional even after the hit has ended." These situations help students develop the necessary skills to work with people on both sides of the aisle.
During the 2016 New Hampshire Primary, the Institute was so busy that an additional temporary studio had to be created in a space adjacent to the permanent studio. Many of the 2016 presidential candidates appeared on MSNBC, CNN, FOX News, and more from the NHIOP studio.
Politics major Clare Robbins, a junior from Holden, Mass., had many memorable moments during that week. Some days she had five or six different guests in the studio, with hits ongoing from 5 a.m. to midnight. She explained that she often worked with the same guests, so they, and their staff, got to know her personally and would request to work with her.
Robbins also explained that working in the studio has helped her learn to handle tense situations and think on her feet. With such high traffic during the primary, it was the handler's job to ensure that guests were in the correct location at the right time and keep them occupied while they waited.
Cody Aubin (pictured above with Carly Fiorina), a junior politics major from Manchester, N.H., had a similar experience. He frequently assisted with Governor Jeb Bush's television hits. Governor Bush and his staff got to know Aubin well and would chat with him about school, and ask for his opinion on matters pertaining to a younger generation.
Saint Anselm College faculty and staff also do live shots out of the studio. Aubin explained that those instances are always interesting because of the opportunities for faculty and students to have offline discussions, both before and after the show. Occasionally, these conversations continue into the classroom. One of his professors appeared on C-SPAN to discuss the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and future Supreme Court confirmations. The following morning, students expanded on the topic while discussing current events in a Constitutional Law class.
While working in the studio certainly provides students with great prospects for networking and professional development, it also allows them to see a different side of famous figures. "It's interesting to see people on television versus how they are in real life," says Shue. "You can see a much more personable side when you meet them."