C-Span Experience


The 2nd Amendment: Where Do You Stand? This is the question Searra Frostman, Aurora Grant, and Austyn Lovejoy decided to tackle, when they embarked on creating a video for the C-Span studentcam competition.  

Every year C-Span sponsors a studentcam competition which requires students to create a 5-7 minute video about their chosen topic. This year’s topic was “The Constitution and You,” meaning every student who entered had to pick a provision of the Constitution to pull apart and present both sides of the argument.

Austyn Lovejoy:

My experience was amazing; I learned so much. During this project, I was able to expand my knowledge on the 2nd Amendment and the fight surrounding it. The opportunity to speak with people who represent and build the communities around our area was super rewarding. I learned more than I ever imagined I would.  Just to provide you with an example, I was responsible for composing and sending out correspondence with all potential interviewees. I first heard back from Senator Bewley, in the form of an e-mail from Joe, one of her staff members. E-mail, I confess, is much less daunting than having to talk on the phone. Nevertheless, I did end up confirming appointments via phone.The magnitude of information I acquired is unbelievable. I believe that there aren’t different views on the 2nd Amendment so much as different interpretations of the Amendment, and we got to see four different interpretations from four different people. Though all four people interviewed had different ways of looking at the 2nd Amendment, we saw a lot of overlap in the views they were expressing. Perhaps the most common thread was that everyone was concerned about the violence but equally supportive when it came to protecting our freedoms and liberties.While I do believe that there are people around this area who lean towards a more anti-gun view, it was clear from our interviews that gun ownership in this area is a well exercised and valued right.

Aurora Grant:

Being able to interview people I’ve never meet was pretty nerve racking. I had to set aside my nerves and dig deep to find the confidence it takes to talk with an expert, in this case, a senator, a sheriff, a business owner and Mr. Gustafson. Deep breath, I can do this, right? Each interview was a little different. Our first interview was with Senator Bewley, who was gracious enough to drive all the way over and do her interview in person. I felt very lucky to be able to talk with her live because we had been anticipating that our rural location would make interviewing people a challenge so had gotten set up to record interviews via Facetime or Skype. Turns out, Senator Bewley was more than happy to meet with us and it definitely showed. Austyn had emailed her some questions ahead of time, which made the conversation flow really smoothlyWith the first interview under my belt, things got a little – but only a little because interviewing is scary! – easier. We traveled to Ashland to interview Brian Mrnak who owns Sports Hollow, a shooting range and then over the Washburn to talk with Sheriff Susienka. After talking with people who live and work in this area and spending hours researching our 2nd Amendment rights, I really started to learn and appreciate the arguments from both sides, that people make about this issue. Making this video gave me a much stronger understanding about the 2nd Amendment. Actually, I learned a lot more about the 2nd Amendment than I have in the past. And of course, this project really gave me an opportunity to develop and hone my video editing skills. We shot the videos on a tiny little Canon Vixia mounted on a tripod. Ms. Ripley drove us to our interviews and filmed for us while we asked the questions. Once we got back to school, we uploaded all the media onto the computer and then into Premiere, Adobe’s video-editing software. It was really nice to be able to work on the new Macs and use top-notch equipment. Thanks South Shore!

Searra Frostman:

Being able to have this opportunity to learn more about the 2nd Amendment and what issues come along with it was a great learning experience for me. Throughout the time that I worked on this project, I learned more than I expected I would. Even though I was not able to attend the interviews, I still learned so much just by watching them. I gained a much stronger knowledge of what the 2nd Amendment is and why it is such a controversial topic. The problems that come along with it were very interesting to learn about. I was especially intrigued with Sheriff Susienka’s comments about not being able to restrict a right until a person proved – and when we’re talking about guns, that too often involves the loss of life – that they are incapable of enjoying that right. Creating this video also allowed me to learn much more about Premiere and how to use it. This was my second time ever working with Premiere and I learned a lot more about how to put in special effects and music, along with how to create a professional looking credit roll. Our videos was due at midnight on Thursday, January 18. Thursday, January 18th found me anchored to a desk in the Business Education room, until 10:00 p.m., making final edits to our documentary. But it was worth it as Ms. Ripley and I fueled up with some delicious food from the Bear Paw and cool refreshments from Johnson’s.