Obama Came To Austin And I Was Behind The Scenes As A Member Of The Press

When I heard that Obama was coming to Austin this week, I immediately contacted my editor at Austinist and told her I wanted to cover it. She said, “Great!” Then I had to figure out HOW to do that. Luckily, I know a lot of smart, connected people. My friend Katherine, who knows things about politics,  told me to literally call the White House switchboard and ask to get credentials to cover the president’s visit. AND IT WORKED.

The switchboard put me through to the White House Press Office and they added me to their press email list. When the emails went out asking journalists to RSVP for his two main stops (at a local high school and a local high tech manufacturing company), I did. And my credentials were approved.

So, yesterday at 9:30am, I showed up at Manor New Technology High School, four hours before he was scheduled to talk. Bomb-sniffing dogs checked out our bags and the Secret Service actually went through them very thoroughly. We had to be swiped with a metal-detecting wand before we could get in. And, of course, we had to get our credentials. I will keep mine forever.

The speech at Manor New Technology High School was my favorite part because the students were SO excited about being there. Applied Materials, on the other hand, was a totally different feel. For one thing, we were in a huge warehouse-type room that was FREEZING cold. I could barely type because my fingers were so frozen. People were certainly excited to be there but it just didn’t have the same energy that the high school did.

The two speeches were extremely similar in content and they were based on what Obama had said in the State of the Union address. So, that part was not so exciting.

But it was very cool to get to experience what it’s like to be in the press when covering the president. There are so many photographers and journalists (though much less of the latter). Everyone is so intense because there isn’t actually that much to report on so the point for most people is to be the first one to get the picture or the quote out there. I ended the experience thinking that there was a lot of redundancy among the press and that it was, overall, a very boring, long day. But still, not one I’d trade for anything.

Here is my write-up about it at the Austinist: Hello Texas! President Obama Visits Austin. And below is a gallery of images I took with my iPhone and published to my Instagram feed yesterday.


2 thoughts on “Obama Came To Austin And I Was Behind The Scenes As A Member Of The Press

  1. You are a smart, lucky woman to be able to cover POTUS. People like u will bring some objectivity to media coverage!

    Sent from my iPhone

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