Students visit C-SPAN bus, learn about politics

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 1, 2001

Natchez students got to board a bus of a different kind Thursday with the arrival of the C-SPAN School Bus. &uot;I thought it was interesting (to learn) how they put (C-SPAN) on and how they travel across the country,&uot; said Cathedral student Byron Zerby.

The crew of the yellow 45-foot bus travels the country filming vignettes and talking with students, residents and local cable providers.

Students from area high schools visited the bus while it was parked at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center.

&uot;I though it was a real informative way to show students how government works,&uot; said Cathedral student Sarah Lindsey Rogers.

The students viewed the equipment on the bus and got a chance to discuss C-SPAN’s &uot;gavel to gavel&uot; method of covering politics.

Cathedral student Deighton Zerby told a C-SPAN official he watches its programming for just that reason. &uot;You all provide … unfiltered news,&uot; he said. &uot;You all just give it directly and let the viewer decide how he wants to interpret it.&uot;

Another Cathedral student was more skeptical of C-SPAN claim that it presented unbiased news.

After all, they control the cameras, Henry Hornstein said. &uot;You can’t unfilter it when you are in control of what people see,&uot; he said.

While in Natchez, C-SPAN will be filming a vignette about the city’s history before leaving Saturday for Jackson. The bus serves as a method of filming programs, promoting the station’s format and as a chance to interact with local cable providers such as Cable One.

Since C-Span does not air commercials it is funded with proceeds from local cable companies, said Matthew S. McGuire, bus production specialist.

&uot;(The visit is) our way of saying thank you to Cable One for carrying us on their line-up,&uot; he said.

The bus is called a &uot;school&uot; bus because it usually stops at local schools to talk about C-SPAN’s purpose. &uot;We’re just another window to what’s happening in Washington,&uot; McGuire said.

C-SPAN is meant to be a resource to local communities, said Meghan Stalebrink, community relations representative. &uot;It’s not the most exciting channel you can watch on cable but it’s there as a resource,&uot; Stalebrink said.

And the travels of the bus keep C-SPAN employees in touch with local communities.

&uot;It’s a really good opportunity to get outside Washington D.C. and meet directly with people in their hometowns,&uot; Stalebrink said.