By Kara Mason
It was relatively quiet on the White House grounds. Outside, tourists snapped photos, U.S. Secret Service dogs sniffed for any potential threats that would disrupt what seemed like solitude on the other side of the fence and protesters made their presence known.
But inside, where the real action happens, it felt calm.
After getting through the gates, my attention was focused solely on getting where I needed to go, and maybe that’s why it seems like the rest of the world went mute when I passed that security check.
I need to get my camera gear set up, I need to meet the press contact, I need to not accidently find myself somewhere I shouldn’t be. I need to focus.
There’s a certain intensity that comes with being on the inside of that fence. Not only am I reporting at the White House, I’m doing something I’ve never done before – video work.
With my tripod and camera in tow, I followed the press contact.
“We can set up here, and I’ll be back with the Spelling Bee champs,” she said.
I attempt to set up near where every major network sets up its gear, but my knowledge of my tripod and how it will affect my shot is not nearly what I need it to be. I’ve prepared for this moment, but doubt is kicking in.
Somehow, it was still quiet.
Luckily, the Scripps National Spelling Bee champs and E.W. Scripps Co. President Richard Boehne’s meeting with President Barack Obama was running longer than expected, because after realizing that I’m brand new to this rodeo, the CBS cameraman down the way jumped over to help me unfold and set up my gear.
Once the spellers arrive, it’s somehow still surprisingly quiet. Winners Sriram Hathwar and Ansun Sujoe seem awestruck that they’ve just emerged from the Oval Office. I’m in awe that my video is actually recording and the sound is working.
We’ve all reached a major milestone.
As I finished the interview and the quiet continued, I took a deep breath, and Boehne and I returned our passes and wandered back into the crowd where the noise and the rather casual atmosphere, returned.
There’s no pressure, no prestige, no wonderfully helpful CBS cameramen. There’s a fence guarding the calmness.
I’m sure there’s a buzz that follows the president, but it’s impossible to think that it’s anything similar to the world outside the White House grounds.
After all, the work and events happening inside that fence are important, even for interns shooting video for the first time, and important work requires a quiet, serious mood.