Tag Archives: 2008Conventions

An Eleven-Year-Old’s View from Outside the Convention Gates

By Denise Tejada

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Eleven-year-old Davyon Williams had no idea what was in store for him when he showed up at his second day of school at Paul and Sheila Wellstone Elementary. The school is just steps from the Republican National Convention’s headquarters at the Xcel Center in St. Paul. Youth Radio enlisted him as a tour guide and hooked up with Davyon during his social studies class, where his teacher, Ms. Witt, integrated themes from Presidential politics into her lesson. Davyon’s own biggest hope for the Presidential election is for whoever comes into office to end the war so his big brother can come home.

Watching Talk Radio


Nationally syndicated talk show host Ben Ferguson at the XCel Center's Radio Row in St. Paul.

Nationally syndicated talk show host Ben Ferguson at the XCel Center

You can meet conservative talk radio host, Ben Ferguson, in audio form in our next post. But here you get to check him out in moving pictures. Ever wanted a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of conservative talk radio? That’s just what Youth Radio’s Ankitha Bharadwaj got–in a big way–during her visit to the RNC in St. Paul.

She tagged along with conservative talk radio personality, Ben Ferguson, who’s been broadcasting live all week from the RNC’s Radio Row. Ben got his start in radio before his 13th birthday. Now he’s nationally syndicated–and a force on and off the mic. Meeting Ben is shook some of Ankitha’s assumptions about a media landscape she’s been coming to know as an emerging young producer.

Youth Radio reporters on the streets of Saint Paul

Youth Radio reporters Ankitha Bharadwaj and Alana Germany have been working hard all week covering the Republian National Convention. Here are some of their thoughts on their stories, and their experiences in Saint Paul.

Convention is the New Nightclub

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Minneapolis-Saint Paul–Now before you get your baffled face on, let me explain.

When Youth Radio was preparing its RNC team, the first question they asked us was…

Youth Radio: “How old are you?”

Ankitha: “What? I’m 18, why do you ask?”

Youth Radio: “That’s good, because only journalists 18 and over are allowed into the RNC.”

Seems like a lame rule, doesn’t it? The obvious reason might be that only people over 18 are allowed to vote, so if there are die hard political junkie journalists who are on the younger end of the spectrum, they’re denied the chance to play a vital role in this year’s political process.

And much like this convention, many nightclubs across the country require partygoers to be at least 18 to enter. The resemblances don’t stop there. If you’ve ever been to a club, I’m sure you’ve had interesting experiences with the huge bouncer, who guards the club doors to make sure only the “worthy” are allowed in. Similarly, the Xcel Center in St. Paul was guarded by security officers, metal detectors, and scanners. Moreover, just as you’d need to have your name on a special list, the convention requires credentials for anyone to enter the Xcel Center, and getting those credentials is tricky business if you’re under 18.

Maybe it’s just me, but isn’t it a little weird that the RNC didn’t allow journalists under 18 when they’re trying so hard to appeal to the youth? And moreover, this just gives the democrats more power, since the DNC happily welcomed underage reporters.

We spoke with folks from YPress, a media organization similar to Youth Radio headquartered in Indianapolis. They were frustrated when the RNC denied them any credentials, forcing YPress to look elsewhere for RNC coverage. And the worst thing is that they’ve covered both the DNC and the RNC for years now, so it’s a little confusing why they weren’t credentialed this time around. But the YPress team got some pretty awesome stories; they interviewed Fred Thomson, Mike Huckabee, and a few other cool cats. So take that RNC.

Youth Radio Crushes On MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’

Joe Scarborough & Kelly Chau

Former Florida Congressman Joe Scarborough, host of 'Morning Joe,' daily newscast on MSNBC, and reporter Kelly Chau meet at the RNC.

by Kelly Chau

Minneapolis-St. Paul — That’s right, folks: MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough sent Youth Radio’s Kelly Chau to Cloud 9.

During my third day at the 2008 Republican National Convention, I visited a lot of various media outlets and interviewed a few goers at the Xcel Energy Center, but my last interview was special. After stumbling across the convention floor, I finally spotted my hero, Joe Scarborough of MSNBC. Best believe, my eyes literally popped out of my head. There was no time for me to waste, so I walked up to him, introduced myself, told him about Youth Radio, and asked him if he could spare a minute. And you guessed it, he cheerfully said “sure.” So I interviewed him, asked him a few questions pertaining to current politics. After that, we snapped a photo together, as you can see. Then out of nowhere, Nate Hadden (Cameraman) busted me out by telling him I had a crush on him! But Joe didn’t seem to mind, thankfully.  He simply laughed. He ultimately made my day – I could hardly breathe afterwards.

Youth Radio Gets the Star Treatment

by  Denise Tejada

Minneapolis-St. Paul — Day 4 of reporting has made me feel like a SUPA STA.  But before this feeling began, I started my day at 9:30 am with a good old cup of Joe (props to Ankitha). This has been the only day I was able to sleep more than 4 hours. My first task was to finish my log for my personal essay (make sure to tune in for more information). After an intense two hours of listening to my own voice, it was time to head to the Wellstone Elementary School to meet the shining star of my story.

11 year old student Davyon Williams

11-year-old student Davyon Williams of Wellstone Elementary School gives Youth Radio a 6th grade perspective on the RNC.

Once at the school, we headed straight to Social Studies class where we were surrounded by a whole group of sixth graders. I was shocked by the students’ excitement to learn about politics, but most importantly by how the convention was right next to their school during their first week of class. In order to make the story more interesting, I had to find a way to keep my voice out of it, so we decided to get one of the students to be our narrator and our tour guide for this story. I’m afraid he is going to take my job when he grows up. Yup, he was that good.

Once we were done at the school, it was time to break out the lipstick and get myself beautified for my interview with Mun2, a national Cable TV station aimed at young Latinos in the United States.

Youth Radio's Denise Tejada interviwed by Mun2 TV

Denise Tejada being interviewed by Mun2 TV, a national Cable TV station aimed at young Latinos in the United States

This was the scariest moment because I had to make sure that I didn’t sound like a groupie, but more like a true professional 20-year-old. As soon as I met with the Mun2 crew, I felt comfortable.  They sure do know how to make someone feel at ease as soon as the camera starts rolling. Once the red light turned on, I shifted into this reporter role, a stand up, teacher, fan, a role that I can’t simply explain, but it had a bit of everything.  It was as if something had invaded my body and took me through multiple roles.

This is the first time I have ever felt such satisfaction and accomplishment. But to top it all off, I had an agent with me, none other than my producer Lissa Soep. Now I know how artists feel when they are being scheduled for interviews – super VIP. So Lissa, keep them coming, LOL. 

Denise poses after her interview with Mun2 TV

Lissa and Denise with the Mun2 crew after their interview.

Then, halfway through the interview, I turned the tables on the Mun2 crew and decided to interview them for my story!  However, when I dropped the news, it was as if I was asking a first-timer for an interview. They were even debating who would do the interview, so in order to cut that debate I had to set some rules and included both of them.

I thought the day could not get better until I took a picture with both Rob Riggle and Aasif Mandvi from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.

 

 

Denise with Robert Riggle and Aasif Mandvi

Denise with Robert Riggle and Aasif Mandvi of The Daily Show.

I felt like I was at the Grammies, running into celebrities everywhere. This day was just too good, but then the most unexpected thing happened. As I was uploading some of the pictures I took today, my producer and boss at Youth Radio, Nishat Kurwa, turned to me and said (and I quote), “You look extra beautiful today.”  It can’t get better than that, especially coming from Nishat.

This day was full of exciting things so I have no choice but to end the day with a song:
It’s raining fame!  Hallelujah…it’s raining fame! Amen…you can finish the rest. Goodnight!

Our Day with Princella, Young Political Star

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Kelly Chau and Alana Germany follow 24-year-old Princella Smith, Chief Advocate for Newt Gingrich's American Solutions project, through her day at the RNC.

Minneapolis-Saint Paul–People often ask Princella Smith how old she is. She’s 24. Princella is also the Chief Advocate for Newt Gingrich’s American Solutions project, which means that by now she’s accustomed to being the youngest person in the room. Youth Radio’s Alana Germany spent a day with Smith and provided a glimpse into the Convention through the eyes of one of its youngest rising stars.

Youth Radio sits down with Princella Smith.

Later on this week, Alana will take part in the NPR News and Notes Reporters’ Roundtable – stay tuned!

Don’t forget to listen to it!