The Herald, Sharon,
PA Published Thursday, April 22, 1999


Students blitz reporter with questions

By Jennifer Hall
Herald Staff Writer
and Janielle Moss
Herald Staff Writer

About 50 local high school students put CNN's Wolf Blitzer on the opposite end of the questions Wednesday.

"I'm not used to being on this side of a press conference," the senior White House corespondent for CNN told the students. "I'll try to answer your questions as honestly as I can and not try to duck them like a politician."

Many of the students kept careful notes of Blitzer's comments. About 13 schools sent representatives from their student newspapers for the news conference at Penn State's Shenango Campus in Sharon.

Students from Junior Leadership Shenango, a leadership workshop for high school students, also attended.

The students quizzed Blitzer on covering different events and people, journalism ethics and travel.

"Emotionally the most difficult story I've had to cover was the Oklahoma City bombing," he said of the 1995 bombing of the federal building there. "I was not prepared for the devastation and all that occurred while there. There's just some things that you'd rather not see."

Leadership Shenango member Josh Christy, 17, said he felt meeting and being able to hear Blitzer speak was an excellent experience. "I feel privileged to have had this opportunity," the Mercer High School student said. "I also learned a lot about the news media."

Mercer student Nicole Colvin, 17, also a Leadership Shenango member, said it was a very interesting experience to be able to hear him speak about journalism, which she said she did not know a lot about.

Kelly Good of the Commodore Perry High School newspaper staff said meeting Blitzer was "very interesting to hear about some of his adventures through reporting."

"I have never had much knowledge of him before," said Jessica Conover, 17, another member of the reporting staff for Commodore Perry's newspaper.

Blitzer talked to the students about how he fell into his career and encouraged those interested in journalism to get all the experience possible.

"I try to help younger folks," he said. "I appreciated the help I received. And I tell them that if you are curious and can tell a story you have a future in journalism."

And he encouraged the students to appreciate the free press.

"It's one of the most cherished traditions in our democracy," he said. "I've been to countries without it, and I'll tell you that I don't want to live in those countries. People get irritated with the free press, but it's a lot better than the alternative."

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Updated April 22, 1999
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