Rubbing Shoulders with Big Personalities


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One aspect that makes Washington a truly unique city is the number of high profile newsmakers that live here and visit here to promote their interests.  Walk around Washington’s most heavily trafficked areas and you are bound to see a larger-than-life person who is well known in some area such as politics, journalism, business or sports.

As we reported earlier, we had the opportunity of visiting a major place of power on Friday, the Pentagon.  While there, we passed CBS News Pentagon correspondent David Martin.  As we were nearing the end of our tour, we passed a banquet hall that was filled with people and an obvious security detail.  As we peered inside the windows, we could see Defense Secretary Leon Panetta inside.  Panetta is one of President Barack Obama’s closest advisors and arguably one of the most powerful people in Washington today.

While the Pentagon was a unique experience in and of itself, we had the very special opportunity today to visit the Washington Bureau of CNN.  In order to reach the Bureau, we took the subway to Washington’s Union Station, a major rail station and shopping center.  As we were walking about Union Station, we noticed a large congregation of armed federal agents with vests saying, “Department of Homeland Security”.  It was obvious that something or someone was making news.  As we stood around, we could see a news crew following a man in a suit and I soon realized that it was Bob Orr, the Justice and Homeland Security correspondent for CBS News.  It was not clear what Orr was reporting on at the time and we looked for a report from him on the “CBS Evening News” this evening but there were no mentions.  It will be interesting to see if any reports from Orr are aired in the coming days.

Once we reached CNN, it was obvious that we were in a place that is frequented by prominent newsmakers.  Today’s guest: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who was at the Bureau to discuss immigration reform and gun control on the set of CNN’s Spanish language network, “CNN en Español”.  It is one thing to see these newsmakers on television, where we see them every day.  But it is entirely different to see them in person, when you realize that you are just a few steps away from a person with enormous power and connections.

While we were at the Bureau, President Obama was holding the last Q&A press conference of his first term.  This was certainly an important event for CNN to be covering.  While we were at the Bureau, Wolf Blitzer and John King were providing analysis of Obama’s remarks.  Blitzer and King are two of CNN’s most well-known journalists and as we peered at them from behind glass doors, it was easy for us to realize the magnitude of where we were at.

As we concluded our tour of CNN, we passed a cabinet full of items from significant world events.  One item that was included in the cabinet was a paper containing emails exchanged by CNN personnel during the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks.  It was a surreal representation of the horrific events of that day and their effect on the world of news gathering and journalism.

As we departed CNN, I believe the entire group was in awe of the tremendous and interesting work that everybody within the CNN global organization does.  It was a truly interesting day as we continued our exploration of Washington.  Certainly we will be likely to see many more newsmakers as the day’s progress towards the Inauguration.

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