Culver City Observer -

CCMS Student Covers Bernie Sanders Rally


March 28, 2019

By Benjamin Corburn

Kid Scoop Media Correspondent, age 12

Bernie Sanders is a top 2020 Democratic candidate and it is clear he is making California a top priority. I had the unique opportunity to go behind the scenes as a member of the press covering the Bernie Sanders rally. It was March 23, 2019 and I was heading to Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles CA. Doors opened at 2:30pm for general population, but this was my first time as a member of the press, and I needed to be there by noon. It was a beautiful Southern California day with a cool breeze in the air. Upon parking a few blocks away from the rally, I noticed many vendors selling buttons, t-shirts and other campaign paraphernalia.

As I headed over to the press entrance, I wondered what it would be like to be part of the press and how people will react to a Culver City Middle School student reporting on a presidential candidate. This was my first time and I was nervous and excited at what I might learn from the experience. I presented my credential as Kids Scoop Media and was given my first ever press pass!! As press, I now had a separate private entrance that was to the side of the staging area. I was surprised to learn that the press area was not backstage. Instead, it was in front of the stage about 100 feet from the podium. There was a raised stage area where the photographers and photojournalists stood for a non-obstructed view. The front of the photo stage area on the ground allowed for print, television and internet journalists to stand. Behind the photo stage were tables and chairs for writing notes and mingling with other journalists.

As I waited for Bernie Sanders to arrive, I hung out with other reporters. I got to meet Melanie Mason who is a political print reporter for the LA Times. She shared with me that she is covering the 2020 presidential campaign. She said journalism is really exciting. She gets to travel and meet new people. She said this year will be very busy as she will be covering lots of candidates. I also got to meet a television report name Elex Michaelson. He is the Los Angeles news political reporter for Fox 11 News. I learned that Elex used to play basketball and he feels politics is similar to sports but with real world consequences.

Before Bernie arrived, I walked the area taking pictures of the people and noticed there were all races and ages with a predominance of younger people. Many people were holding signs with slogans. There were three campaign slogans that stood out: Not Me, Us; Feel The Bern; and Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In. Bernie Sanders entered the stage to the song, "Taking it to the Streets" by the Doobie Brothers. The crowd poured into the area filling up the park. There was overflow across the way moving up the Los Angeles City Hall stairs. It was estimated there were 20,000 to 50,000 people at the rally. The experience has given me a new perspective towards reporting. It was very educational and taught me what it would be like to be a journalist.

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