The C-SPAN Bus Visits BJ


Maggie Brown, Writer

Last week, several history classes were invited to tour C-SPAN’s interactive multimedia bus. Kids were able to explore the many avenues of political literacy, including where to find unbiased content and how funding affects news coverage. C-SPAN itself is a nonprofit news channel that provides the straight-up facts – they cover speeches and the Senate floor without interjecting commentary and opinions. For students that want to be free of fake news, this was a real eye-opener.

An overwhelming majority of the students who participated agreed on what surprised them the most; C-SPAN is completely neutral and refuses to be tied down to a bias because of funding. “We receive six cents out of every cable bill,” said the representative that guided the students. “The cable industry does not have any say in our editorial process. We do a lot with very little…we are a non-profit organization.”

Among the features of the interactive bus included a social media feed, 360-degree coverage of events like the Women’s March, and wall-to-wall screens showcasing C-SPAN’s immense database of information. Everything they have ever covered is available on their website; if you want to get to the facts, it’s your safest bet. There is even a tiny production studio in the back of the bus! The crew does a lot of traveling in the bus to promote C-SPAN, even taking a barge to Hawaii – soon they’ll be off to the L.A. Times Book Festival.

Students left the bus with a pocket constitution in hand, feeling informed about both news outlets and the opportunities for jobs in those fields. The fact that most young people aren’t aware of unbiased media sources is frightening, but this bus set out to help combat the spread of misinformation. “They’re trying to…tell students that they don’t have to listen to commentators to make meaning out of political clips,” said Mrs. Springer, Bob Jones teacher. “That is an important and rare service in 2019.”

Check out this short slide show of kids on the C-SPAN bus!