Online Journalism

Anita McBride C-SPAN Interview

April 16th, 2011 · Comments Off on Anita McBride C-SPAN Interview

Anita McBride said that the American public has expected the First Lady of the United States to play certain roles, and those roles changed over time. “We expect them to use voice and comment on social issues,” McBride stated. When it comes to the role of the First Lady, nobody seems to understand better than Anita McBride, who has not only worked with former President George W. Bush, but also with his wife Laura Bush.

McBride, who served as Assistant to President George W. Bush and as Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush from 2005-2009, joined students participating from the George Mason University Video Studio along with Steve Scully, the political editor for the C-SPAN networks, and students from the Georgetown University and  Purdue University.

The distance learning course, which is produced by C-Span, is a unique opportunity for students to interview guests via video conference. The course airs on C-SPAN3 on Fridays at 5 pm and also streams online (

A First Lady has been most effective when they bring their own experiences,” stated McBride. The First Lady “humanizes the president,” explained McBride, “she acts as a window to see the president.”

She explained how Laura Bush was typecasted by the media as the “shy, retiring librarian,” but managed to break through that with a voice of her own. McBride illustrated that we, the public, expect our First Lady to be deeply engaged. For example, Laura Bush did this by focusing on global health awareness and the Emergency AIDS plan.

Now, First Lady Michelle Obama has focused on the issues of school bullying, obesity and military families. This raised the question of whether a First Lady do too many issues and lose focus, but the answer according to McBride is “Michelle Obama has been very strategic, and so far she’s only focused on how to become more engaged with your children’s life.”  I think these issues presented by Michelle Obama are perfect for today’s nation, and for her, as she has two emerging teen daughters of her own.

As for the Obama Administration, she said “No other leader faces what the United States President has to face,” so she is very happy to hear that the Obama’s seem like a normal family with a dad, mom, kids, homework and even a dog.

Great questions that were asked during the C-SPAN interview by fellow students:

  • What if there was to be a First Man if a woman president was elected? McBride says it would simply stay the same job, to support the wife and for the man to have a voice of his own.
  • Excluding the thee First Lady’s she has worked for, which First Lady in history would she have liked to work for? McBride: Abigail Adams and Dolly Madison.

Mrs. McBride is also a member of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, a historic public-private partnership between the U.S. and Afghan governments, Georgetown University and private sector institutions to help Afghanistan women find their place in a post-Taliban society. “They [the Afghan women] don’t want a hand out, they want a hand up, they don’t want to be perceived as victims,” McBride explained.

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Brad Kalbfeld talks about digital journalism

April 16th, 2011 · Comments Off on Brad Kalbfeld talks about digital journalism

Brad Kalbfeld

Brad Kalbfeld knows what it’s like to be a journalist. He has been doing it for more than 36 years.

Three weeks ago, on Tuesday, April 5, Kalbfeld joined students in Steve Klein’s COMM 361 Online Journalism class and spoke regarding the implications of the iPhone.

He brought with himself, a typewriter, a Telex machine, a bulky laptop and an iPhone.

“From typewriters to laptops, journalism has taken a drastic turn of events…for the best,” said Kalbfeld, a former international correspondent for the Associated Press.

Kalbfeld also helped in writing the 2006 AP Style Guidebook.

“I used this Telex machine where I would have to pay by the word,” Kalbfeld said.

Sound similar to something we used nowadays to save words? TWITTER.

As the discussion continued, Kalbfeld displayed a chart that showed the difference between the analog world and digital world.

“The analog world goes like this: event occurs, the reporter writes a story on it, the copy editor edits it, the section editor edits it, and the managing editor edits it until it goes to the reader.”

For Kalbfeld, they are all filters to the public.

“In the digital world, anyone can write a story and it goes straight to the audience, without any filters.”

This gives readers the power to decide what news is and what is not. However, there is one problem in citizen journalism for Kalbfeld.

“There is no balance. We take a picture and it only represents one side of the story. A lot of times, we fail to give the whole picture,” Kalbfeld said. “It is the citizen’s responsibility to be skeptical!”

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Video conference: Anita McBride takes the floor

April 16th, 2011 · Comments Off on Video conference: Anita McBride takes the floor

Anita McBride

According to Anita McBride, no one will ever comprehend what the presidential family of the United States goes through on a daily basis.

“No one will ever understand what the president of the United States and the first lady face every day,” said McBride, chief-of-staff to First Lady Laura Bush. “However, it is possible for their children to lead a life of normalcy in the White House.”

McBride, assistant to President George W. Bush, has directed a wide range of issues under First Lady Laura Bush’s time at the White House. These issues include education, global literacy, youth development, women’s rights and health, historic preservation and conservation and more.

“I have a real desire to improve the lives of the Afghani women,” McBride said. “They are the most courageous women in the world. You just cannot imagine living in those conditions and surviving.”

According to McBride, who has worked in corporate philanthropy, Afghan women do not want to be seen as victims.

“These women are lawyers, judges, carpenters and teachers,” McBride said.

McBride, who is also a member of the U.S. Afghan Women Council, joined students participating from the George Mason University Video Studio along with Steve Scully, the political editor for the C-SPAN networks, and students from the University of Denver.

McBride has worked on wide range of philanthropy issues and discussed her take on various issues around the world.

“I admire how former First Lady Hillary Clinton shifted her focus from healthcare to a global landscape, despite taking many blows at first,” McBride said. “It really isn’t easy to have such a controversial agenda.”

Other students who attended the discussion had their own questions to ask McBride.

“If you could pick any First Lady in the White House to work for, who would it be?” asked Lexi Ramage, a junior majoring in communication.

“I would love to work for Dolly Madison,” McBride said. “It would be very interesting and also Abigail Adams, since she was an early abolitionist. She sacrificed for this country. She is an extraordinary character.”

The distance learning course, which is produced by C-SPAN, is a unique opportunity for students to interview guests via video conference. The course airs on C-SPAN3 on Fridays at 5 p.m. and also streams online.

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts