The C-Span mobile studio and Education studio made a stop at Westminster College Wednesday to raise awareness about civic engagement in the 2020 campaign and the importance of unbiased news.
“C-Span is here at Westminster as part of our C-span Buss Initiative,” said Ashley Hill, a producer for C-Span. “Our C-Span bus is a huge bus that travels around the country. We’ve been crisscrossing the U.S.”
Over the span of 26 years, the bus has visited all 50 states, according to Hill.
C-Span is the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network created in 1979 by the cable television industry as a nonprofit public service. It televises proceedings of the federal government, as well as other public affairs programming.
“We are non-partisan and non-biased, so any of our news coverage of political coverage and government, we are going to make sure that there aren’t any talking heads on there editorializing and telling you what to think,” Hill said. “So at C-Span, we want you to decide for yourself.”
C-Span is also non-profit, meaning they don’t use commercial or taxpayer money. Hill said this helps to maintain independence.
“You aren’t going to see the use of government and taxpayer money,” she said. “We’re a nonprofit network we are kept afloat by six cents from every cable subscriber.”
Hill said C-Span provides resources beyond just covering live footage. It archives all footage from presidential rallies, House and Senate meetings and presidential press conferences.
“It’s a great primary source for university students and college students,” Hill said.
The C-Span bus provided live information on political candidates and government affairs on TV screens inside. The bus acts as the mobile studio and education center to travel across the country to educate.
“I think it’s an awesome initiative,” said Alyson Pinkelman, a fourth-year student studying public health and music studies. “It’s a great way to make voting and civic engagement more accessible, not only to children and people our age but to seniors and to people who generally don’t get out and vote. I think it’s awesome.”
Right now, the bus is focusing on educating voters ahead of the 2020 presidential election in November. The space allows voters to take quizzes and ask questions that can be passed along for future interviews with candidates.
“I learned the difference between the electoral college and popular votes on our last five presidents,” said Jenna Masic, an assistant for Walkways with Westminster. “I also found out about past candidates that I didn’t even know about.”
Masica said it was a helpful experience that taught about civic engagement while emphasizing its independence.
“I have never heard of C-Span before and I honestly still have no idea what it is other than it is ‘unbiased’ news which is difficult to believe considering the society we live in,” she said.