On Thursday, January 7th, President Obama and CNN host Anderson Cooper sat down with a hand-picked audience for a town hall discussion about "Guns in America." The hour-long event was broadcast live from the Johnson Center's Dewberry Hall on Mason's Fairfax campus. Invitees represented a range of political viewpoints on the issue of guns and gun control, including Second Amendment advocates and family members and survivors of gun violence. Also in the audience was former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was severely wounded in a mass shooting five years ago in Arizona. CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin was also on campus, hosting live news segments throughout the day on Thursday from a stage in the JC Atrium. Outside the Johnson Center, some 100 students and community members gathered to protest and make their voices heard on both sides of the gun control issue.
CNN crews and U.S. Secret Service agents took over Dewberry Hall, the Bistro, and the Gold Room early in the week, setting up for the broadcast and ensuring security measures were in place for the president's arrival. The lower level of the Johnson Center was a flurry of activity on Tuesday and Wednesday as professionals made final preparations for a simultaneous presidential visit and a live, prime time television show.
Student Media was on-site to provide coverage of both the town hall and the protesters outside. Mason Cable Network General Manager Robert Horan was granted press access by the White House and was inside Dewberry Hall for the event. Fourth Estate reporter Natalia Kolenko and photo editor Amy Rose covered the protests on the North Plaza. Check out masoncablenetwork.com and gmufourthestate.com for their full reportage.
January 23, 2016