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UNH Students Weigh in on New Hampshire Primary on ABC News

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
January 16, 2008

Mark Leonard of Distance Learning watches live stream of UNH students. Perry Smith photo.

Seven UNH students got the chance to be a part of the New Hampshire primary when they participated via Web cam in a discussion hosted by ABC News NOW.

ABC News Now is a 24-hour news network distributed nationwide via select cable affiliates, Internet service providers and mobile devices. It reaches approximately 34 million viewers.

Mark Leonard of Academic Technology’s Distance Learning Studios coordinated the event for the university, setting up a camcorder in a T Hall meeting room and linking a laptop to Sightspeed.com, a free provider of Internet video conferencing.

The students were on individual cell phones connected by a phone bridge to ABC News. Leonard sat in front of a laptop watching the live version of the interviews streaming on ABC News NOW.

“We’re doing this kind of thing in the Distance Learning Studio all the time,” Leonard said of the process. “Sending live video and audio feeds out over the Internet is routine for us.”

Students, Democrats and Republicans, included sophomores through seniors and one graduate student.

The ABC News commentator asked them to comment on women’s issues, the war in Iraq and then asked them to identify the issues that were important to them. Pat O’Keefe, a supporter of John Edwards, was asked about Edwards third-place finish in New Hampshire.

“I still have great confidence he’s going to do well,” O’Keefe said. “I think he has a great message.”

A John McCain supporter said, “It’s a great time to be campaigning in New Hampshire.”

The students were asked if calling for change was enough if specific objectives weren’t outlined. A student credited Barak Obama with using his vision while another said McCain had the foresight to lay out his policy.

Of the students’ ease with the process, Leonard said, “They use this kind of stuff all the time. They didn’t have any problem with the technology.”

Watch the video.

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