The WORD at the 2009 Swearing-in of President-Elect Barack Obama

Luis Mostacero, Jacqueline Fernandez and Jonathan Mena are heading to the Presidential Inauguration TODAY to make sure they’re in D.C. to engage this historic moment before the anticipated humungous surge inspires The Powers That Be to cut off transportation into the city. A sudden emergency is keeping Kisha Allison from going.

Mostacero has press credentials via his Noticia Hispanoamericana – but also will be writing for the WORD.


Mena had said from the start that he preferred the outside of the designated, press-credential-required arena. He has a special surprise for Hunterites to be announced after he gets set up in D.C. New America Media, which has been hoping that some affiliated NAM journalists would pursue reporting outside the press arena, said it would try to assist him as well as the other two student journalists to get access, if they wanted assistance, to events (innumerable) planned for the days up to and ending with Barack Obama’s first day (so to speak) on the job.

NAM has been treating the students as if they were pros.

How much help they might need, this writer can’t determine. Mena & Allison, Mena & Fernadez and Mena & Dan Allen – Allen graduated a year ago – have been gaining access to special news events without the required special credentials for as long as this Ford funded multimedia news reporting project (with serious help from the College and NAM) has been developing. They have excellent news snooping repertoires. They think on their feet and adjust to and accommodate very fast in situations that are new to them. So, even as there is this attempt try to described where and what they might be doing or are planning to do, the description could be lacking, subject to the vagaries of the students’ D.C. experiences.

They will be working individually, pursuing their own agendas, and working together when their interests intersect as they see fit. All are packing digital equipment they will need to publish, broadcast and blog (video/audio) – as they so choose. More is possible, of course, because of the technology. Mena & Fernandez, for example, did live Internet broadcasting from the floor of Democratic National Convention in Denver (where they didn’t have floor press passes) the evening that Biden did his acceptance speech. Or, for example, the WORD has a Twitter account, though it hasn’t been actively used. 

From the New Hampshire primaries to the Democratic National Convention to this Inauguration – and a multitude of news events in between – “this” has been an unusual student-teacher relationship. It started developing as the traditional one was fading in New Hampshire when Allison and Mena joined several journalists from New York Community Media Alliance to cover the primaries. This writer believes a lot of J-professors would be uncomfortable with it, and, thusly, they should consider reviewing their ideas and practices about teaching journalism.

It has caused this instructor to re-assess his teaching and to revise his classes.

Mena, Allison, Allen, Fernandez, Mostacero et. al. have paved way for the next wave of talented, enterprising Hunter students with a passion for journalism and media. Let’s see if my J-colleagues are up to the task.

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