Columbia Grad School of Journalism Covers 2008 Service Nation Summit

Photo Credit - Joseph C. Lin Photo Credit - Alexandra Cheney

Welcome to Columbia Graduate School of Journalism's coverage of the 9/11/08 Obama-McCain Presidential Candidate's Forum on the Columbia University Campus.

Browse through the topics at right and be sure to check out the photos, audio, and video.

Anyone interested in using content on this site, please email the editors.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Inside the Main Event

Bollinger: Columbia ROTC Open for Debate

"Whether to have ROTC on the [Columbia University] an issue that's been debated in the University...and it's always open for debate," said Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, as he was interviewed by Alex Lowther immediately following the event.

Seen & Heard at the ServiceNation Forum

Power players from the world of politics, development, and Hollywood came together at Columbia University Thursday night to hear Barack Obama and John McCain take a day off the campaign trail to present their mutual support of volunteer service.

read the full article here
**featuring soundbites from Tobey Maguire, Jeffrey Sachs, David Paterson, and Queen Noor of Jordan

The Teeming Masses Watch Obama and McCain

Click for larger slideshow.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Obama/McCain Visit Hour-by-hour


A brief post to acknowledge everyone who worked on or contributed to our coverage of the Obama McCain forum.
Lina Al-Ejeilat, Eric Baliantz, Joseph Bernstein, Greg Bocquet, Nicole Breskin, Kyla Calvert, Alexandra Cheney, Chikodi Chima, Dana Chivvis, Mariel S. Clark, Collin Crowell, Karn Dhingra, Chana Doreaux, Ali Fenwick, Heather Grossmann, Alan Haburchak, Jeremy Herb, Michele Hoos, Joe Jackson, Khalil Jetha, Jacquelyn Kasuya, Mattew Katz, Chris Kieffer, Joseph C. Lin, Catalina Lobo-Guerrero, Alex Lowther, Meredith Melnick, Habiba Nosheen, Ayman Oghanna, Marine Olivesi, Jamie Oppenheim, Gaia Pianigiani, Ben Piven, Malia Politzer, Jessica Rudis, Venkat Srinivasan, Paul Stevens, Franz Strasser, Emily Witt

Live Blogging on the ServiceNation Summit by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism

9:38 p.m.
Final thoughts, I was surprised by how much politics was hit upon during this ServiceNation forum, but then again, it is an election year. All in all, Todd and I thought McCain was stronger in this setting than Obama because he seemed more comfortable during the discussion.

To all who were out there wondering, the J-School Student Center is hotter at night than during day. And I'm channeling legendary rapper Big Daddy Kane with this one: blogging ain't easy. This was my first time blogging, thanks to Todd and the OMC911 for all your help.

9:21 p.m.
The J-School student center is pretty full right now, and the powers that be have not turned on the air conditioning. Some students are not happy with the situation. When Obama came on there was some applause --there was none for McCain. I thought we were supposed to be unbiased journalists. Oh and there's a blogger from the gossip site IvyGate hanging out in the student center with us. I wonder what she's going to write about us. Todd and I pretty much think Obama's not coming off as well as McCain and he's being vague on policy issues. We've heard a lot of this a million times. He is going to need to be specific in the debates.

9:05 p.m.
Spotted by Greg Bocquet: During the commercial break, audience members were crowding to the front of of the aisles to snap pictures of Obama, completely ignoring superstars Usher, Queen Noor of Jordan, Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio.

8:57 p.m.
Final thoughts on McCain appearance: Todd, the former Marine I'm sitting with, thought McCain came off well and agreed with his observations on the devotion of recent American immigrants to the ideals of America. He pointed out that some of the Marines he served with weren't even citizens yet.

8:50 p.m.
Habiba Nosheen, who is watching the speeches outside, got this quote from Columbia Alum Shelly Bendavid: "If McCain went last, everyone would have left by now."

8:36 p.m.
McCain was just asked about lowered military recruiting standards and the increased reliance on poor minorities to fill the ranks of the US military. Todd pointed out that actually the majority of people engaged in ground combat are white, and that many minorities in the Corps are in support roles. e.g fixing helicopters and machinery, roles translatable to civilian life. (ed. note: we don't have stats to support this assertion)

Todd thinks it's good that a lot of minorities use the military to uplift themselves, but Todd also thinks the more privileged of our society should serve in the military and he's on board with McCain's policy on allowing military recruiters at universities like Columbia. Todd also thinks that there should be some sort of required national service, military or non-military, because it's good for our national character and would foster a common bond between the rich, poor, middle class, whites, blacks, Latinos , Asians etc...

8:30 p.m.
A note from the press pit: "A gentleman just came around and asked us if any of the press would be interested in interviewing the organizers of Service Nation if they were made available to us. I felt bad, but most of us did not seem very interested."

8:21 p.m.
In McCain's words: "The busiest people are the busiest, and the busier they get the busier they get."

8:15 p.m.
Todd and I were talking about McCain's hypothetical presidential response to 9/11; Todd would not be a fan of McCain's community watch group proposal. He thinks the groups would have probably morphed into goon squads. But he's on board with the rest of McCain's proposals.

8:04 p.m.
McCain is about to give his speech and Todd respects his service, but disagrees with McCain's re-definition of torture. He believes McCain backtracked on the issue.

7:49 p.m.
Toby Maguire just spoke. Todd does not like actors. One wonders how appropriate it is to have Spiderman speaking at such an event.

7:45 p.m.
NY Governor David Paterson just began his speech and is thanking Sens. Obama, McCain, Clinton and Mayor Bloomberg and the other high profile speakers at this week's event. By the way, Todd doesn't know much about Gov. Paterson but really likes him.

7:28 p.m.
Just got an update from Habiba Nosheen, a fellow classmate who is with the other members of the press who did not get into the auditorium. "They are serving us dinner in nicely packed boxes which consist of a variety of sandwiches with a bag of pretzels, Oreo brownie, and an apple. Though no coffee. I am sitting behind ET camera crew who just turned around and asked: 'Who is speaking tonight?' "

7:08 p.m.
Todd and I were just talking about about the scene on campus for today's event and he's pretty surprised by the difference between this morning and right now. Columbia is packed with people, protesters and students outside watching the event on the steps of Low Library.

6:55 p.m.
We are eagerly awaiting word from the candidates...

6:48 p.m.
Hi, I’m Karn Dhingra, a New Media student at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. I'll be live blogging tonight's event with Todd Murphy, a fellow Houstonian and former Marine who served in Iraq in 2004. He's currently pursuing a bachelor of arts in Archaeology at Columbia's College of General studies. We're going to get his take on Obama and McCain's speeches on national service.

Americans are better right? RIGHT?

The moderators of this debate seem curiously committed to making sure both candidates describe Americans as "exceptional." Judy Woodruff asked McCain three times if "Americans are better," and Richard Stengel just asked Obama if volunteerism was part of what makes Americans so special.

Queen Noor's Words of Wisdom on J-School

Greg B spoke with Queen Noor of Jordan during a commercial break. "I applied to Columbia J-School and ended up deferring," she said to him, "and then within the year I was married. I always thought journalism was a good way to address the problems I saw."

Them's fightin' words

Richard Stengel: Columbia will invite Ahmadinejad on campus but not ROTC?