SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - CNN Anchor Paula Zahn is hosting the third of four town hall meetings scheduled during this historical presidential election campaign not far from Wittenberg University’s campus, and many representatives of the college have been invited to participate in the production, slated to air live from 8 - 9 p.m. tonight, Oct. 21, on the Cable News Network.
Representatives of both political parties will join Zahn. General Wesley Clark, former Democratic presidential candidate and Bernard Kerick, former New York City Police Commissioner and current senior Iraq policy adviser for the Bush administration will field questions from the audience and attempt to answer some of those submitted electronically in the hour-long broadcast. The network began readying for the production weeks ago, and yesterday representatives arrived in force to set the stage for the town hall meeting to be held at the South Charleston Opera House. Interest is high in Ohio, which is being touted as the battleground state, and CNN officials received 14,000 questions and inquiries via e-mail for tonight’s forum.
Senior Nathan Bennett from London, Ohio, had the opportunity to help with the set up behind the scenes yesterday along with fellow senior and friend, Loren Breen, of Lyndhurst, Ohio. They will be going back to the set today to join juniors Lara Bachelder, from Fremont, Ohio, Karen Obee from Grand Rapids, Ohio, Brian McCoach of New Concord, Ohio, and sophomore Kalyn Fowler of South Charleston, Ohio. All are studying communication at Wittenberg.
Bennett said there were at least two dozen people from CNN on site, and they “had us doing a little bit of everything, including helping with the seating chart, which will include about 170 people in the audience.”
“We had a really great experience, and that’s why we’re going back today,” Bennett said. “Everyone was really nice about answering all our questions about the business of putting on a production like this, and they even showed us how to operate one of their cameras. We also learned how to work the master controls.”
Bennett and the others involved behind the scenes are hoping to meet host Paula Zahn and her guests tonight. Some people from Wittenberg are anxious for the chance to have their questions answered. Click Here For Full List of Wittenberg Participants
Wittenberg’s Office of University Communications has learned that nearly 20 members of the university community have been invited to participate in the meeting. Some will be attending with their spouses, and one student will attend with his sister who is a Clark County high school student. Three faculty members, five staff members and 10 students are among the invited guests. The questions from the Wittenberg group for both parties cover a broad array of topics including negative campaigning, the draft, the candidates’ intended Taiwan policies, the handling of corporate scandals, airlines in bankruptcy and the impact of the unstable fuel prices on the industry, campaign finance reform, how the preemption policy will affect North Korea, the future of Medicare and social security, U.S. and Russia relations as they relate to terrorism and Pell grants, and higher education funding.
The next and final CNN town hall meeting with Paula Zahn is scheduled for Nov. 1 in Kissimmee, Fla. Paula Zahn Now is a primetime issues-driven program offering live newsmaker interviews and discussions each night. She joined CNN in September of 2001, and one of her first assignments for the cable news giant was to cover the terror attacks of Sept. 11. Zahn has received numerous honors and awards, including seven Emmys.