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08/20/2009

A vote for Obama

When we talked about about introducing this Blog and the types of stories we would include here the Barack Obama visit to Ottawa jumped to my mind.

The day covering the American President's first foreign trip was a long one, I arrived in Ottawa on the Hill early in the morning to tape off a spot in the rotunda and arrange additional access to events that were going to happen, a walk down the Hall of Honour and a press conference.

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Barack Obama and Stephen Harper walk down the flag lined Hall of Honour on Parliament Hill in Ottawa

Between events the media covering the event would race to a large media room to file pictures, story updates, blog posts and tweets. 
The room was aways busy, for myself the web means we are always on deadline. We would file as quickly as we can and then re-edit looking for something that we might have missed.
The reporters doing something simular as well.
While doing another edit before the press conference I noticed that all the Canadian reporters, print, radio and television were huddled not too far from me.
Why?
Well, there were only going to be four questions asked in the press conference, two from the American media, who were huddled as well, and two from Canadian media.
And that is what the Ottawa Press Gallery were doing, hashing out who was going to ask the two questions.
Through several votes the group agreed that one question would be in English and the other in French.
It was debated who would ask the questions, it ended up that the Canadian Press asked both.
There was some debate because one network wanted to ask the question because another had an exclusive interview with the Prime Minister the day before. This was voted down.

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The Canadian media contigent votes on what will be asked as part of one of two questions to the leaders in Ottawa.

Then came the hard part, what to ask, the debate was animated and took a long time.
And was repeated for the French question.

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President Barack Obama points out to the Canadian media that their question is actually three questions.

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President Barack Obama listens to Prime Minister Stephen Harper during the press conference held in a committee room off the Hall of Honour.

-Steve Russell
srussell@thestar.ca

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