Reporter’s Notebook

September 21, 2004 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

‘West Wing’ Drops In

You never know who you might run into at a national political convention.

Emily Wenzel, a Minnesota delegate and teacher from Rochester, Minn., was milling about on the convention floor when she spied actor Richard Schiff, who plays White House Communications Director Toby Ziegler on the “West Wing” TV show. Like most delegates, she had a camera handy.

“I asked this guy across from him if he could take our picture,” she said. It was only afterwards that she learned the identity of the photographer: Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell.

“I had no clue,” she said with a laugh, until later when a group of reporters were peppering him with questions.

Fifteen Minutes ...

Julie Blaha, another teacher-delegate from Minnesota, has been busily typing away on her laptop this week. She’s one of several delegates writing an online journal for describing her week.

Democratic National Convention

Read all our convention coverage.

Audio Extras:

  • Education Week editor Mark Walsh reports on Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s appearance at an early childhood education forum. (2:27) Windows Media format | MP3 format

“I’m a delegate diarist,” she said. “They picked us to write for them.”

One day, the 34-year-old wrote about her experiences with the media. Beyond sitting down with Education Week, she’s also been interviewed for television and radio programs and by the Associated Press.

“I’ve kind of sought it out,” she said. “This is an opportunity to tell our story.”

Ms. Blaha, a math teacher at Jackson Middle School in Champlin, had another special responsibility this week. She’s among the lucky group of delegates who sit in the seats directly behind the staging area, which often serves as the backdrop for television coverage of speakers.

“Its incredible,” she said.

The opportunity arose by chance. During a layover in Milwaukee, she came across some campaign aides to Sen. John Kerry who asked if she’d like to sit there.

“We’re not big donors up there,” Ms. Blaha said. “I’m just a regular person.”

There are some strict rules to abide by during her 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. shift.

“No cameras at all, no buttons, no pins, nothing that’s going to glare or distract from the speaker,” she said. “It’s live TV, so our goal is not to do something like roll your eyes or yawn at a dumb time.”

—Erik W. Robelen


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
From Chaos to Clarity: How to Master EdTech Management and Future-Proof Your Evaluation Processes
The road to a thriving educational technology environment is paved with planning, collaboration, and effective evaluation.
Content provided by Instructure
Special Education Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table - Special Education: Proven Interventions for Academic Success
Special education should be a launchpad, not a label. Join the conversation on how schools can better support ALL students.
Special Education K-12 Essentials Forum Innovative Approaches to Special Education
Join this free virtual event to explore innovations in the evolving landscape of special education.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: May 29, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 8, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: April 17, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: March 20, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read