Senior communication majors Kyle Dawson and Tyler Wolfe accompanied Bill Molzon, assistant professor of communication and director of TV operations, to the White House Oct. 5 and 6 to attend and report on the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Stanley Cup Championship ceremony with President Barack Obama.
Dawson and Wolfe, who are both involved in TV productions at the University, recorded the event and produced video footage reporting on the ceremony. Many other Washington and Pittsburgh media outlets were also in attendance to document Obama’s congratulatory speech offered to the Penguins following their Stanley Cup win this summer.
Molzon said his goal in taking students to the event was “to create a learning experience for the students that can’t be duplicated in the classroom.” The students agreed that the trip was invaluable for learning about TV production and covering major events.
It was the fifth time that Molzon took Waynesburg students to Washington for such an event. The first time was in 1991 after the Penguins won their first Stanley Cup.
Molzon coordinated this year’s trip with the White House Press Office and Waynesburg alumnus Bill Ingalls, a project manager and senior photographer for NASA. Ingalls lives in the Washington area and has hosted Molzon and his students on each of the trips, including this one.
“I call him our D.C. field producer because he knows the city like the back [of his hand],” said Molzon. “He gave [Dawson] and [Wolfe] a personal D.C. tour.”
The group arrived at the White House early Thursday, Oct. 6 to set up equipment in the White House East Room. They were able to set up their camera in a prime location since some Pittsburgh news stations did not make it to the 9 a.m. set time.
“It’s not every day that you get to be in a room in the White House, which not many people have the privilege to be in, let alone with all kinds of big-time media members, all of the Penguins’ team and families, on top of dignified and notable government officials and, to top that all off, the President of the United States,” said Dawson.
Dawson and Wolfe also had the opportunity to observe the morning daily briefing given by the White House press secretary in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.
Wolfe, who served as the TV camera operator during the ceremony, said he enjoyed learning from the media professionals in attendance.
“We got to network with a bunch of professional photographers from the networks that have been doing this for decades,” said Wolfe, “as well as see part of the daily briefing that is given to the press.”
Molzon emphasized that networking is an important part of covering the White House ceremony. Meeting people who work in bigger media markets can open opportunities. For instance, one media member informed Molzon of a possible TV journalism internship that may be available at the White House in the future.
Dawson said the experiences exemplified the wide array of real-world experience offered by the Department of Communication on a regular basis.
“We were the only student or college media members in attendance at the event,” said Dawson. “I think that says something about the department here and the opportunities we receive. This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance.”
For more information about Waynesburg University’s Department of Communication, visit www.waynesburg.edu/undergraduate/undergraduate-majors/communication.
Founded in 1849 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Waynesburg University is located on a traditional campus in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, with three additional sites located in the Pittsburgh region. The University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and is one of only 21 Bonner Scholar schools in the country, offering local, regional and international opportunities to touch the lives of others through service.
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Ashley Wise, Associate Director of University Relations
724-852-7675 or firstname.lastname@example.org