C-SPAN School Bus stops in Meridian

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
March 15, 2002
C-SPAN's literal contribution to the information highway was in Meridian on Thursday, offering a live view of a Senate committee's debate of a judicial nomination and demonstrating public service programming.
Meghan Stlebrink, C-SPAN community relations representative, said the bus, en route from Birmingham to Jackson, is also being used in covering this year's congressional elections. It was parked near the U.S. Post Office downtown on 22nd Avenue during the morning and at Bonita Lakes Mall during the afternoon for meetings with Comcast Cable representatives and giving residents a chance to visit.
During a break in their work, Robert Lewis, postal clerk, and Floyd Parker, postal customer service supervisor, took a seat on the bus and talked to Stlebrink and Steve Devoney, C-SPAN production specialist.
Both Lewis and Parker said they watch C-SPAN during work breaks and their lunch hour. They were interested in coverage of Senate hearings on the confirmation of federal Judge Charles Pickering of Mississippi, President Bush's nominee for a seat on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
C-SPAN3 covered the Senate Judiciary Committee's discussions on the nomination Thursday afternoon, and subsequent vote to reject Pickering nomination.
The bus is also used to educate students on the network's "gavel-to-gavel" coverage of government with video clips of previous programming. Devoney said he likes to initiate discussions with students on government issues and explain that the network's mission is to be a non-biased observer.
The bus is also being used to promote the series, "American Writers II," scheduled this spring on C-SPAN. The series will examine the lives and works of 20th Century American writers who have influenced the nation's history.
Live, two-hour programs, focusing on an individual author, will be aired weekly from March 31-July 7 from historic sites throughout the United States. The May 5 program on William Faulkner is scheduled to be aired from Oxford.
C-SPAN was created in 1979 as a public service by the cable industry with live coverage of the U.S. House of Representatives. C-SPAN2 was formed later with the same type of coverage on the U.S. Senate. C-SPAN3 debuted last year, primarily offering historical programming.