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C-SPAN Bus brings nonpartisan message to Hawaii

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DENNIS ODA / doda@staradvertiser.com

Jennifer Lieu pretends to be a correspondent on the C-SPAN Bus parked outside the State Capitol today. Lieu, Capsun Poe (taking a cell phone photo) and Mat Nickeo were taking a tour of the bus which is on a 50-state tour.

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DENNIS ODA/ doda@staradvertiser.com

The C-SPAN Bus has arrived in Hawaii on its 50-state tour. The bus, which was parked outside the State Capitol for a couple of hours today, will be here for 10 days of education and community outreach events, as a multimedia ambassador for the commercial-free public affairs network based in Washington D.C.

In an era of partisanship, the C-SPAN Bus is touring Hawaii with an antidote, educating students about its impartial public affairs programming and gathering stories of the islands to share with the rest of the country.

The 45-foot bus is on a 50-state tour and kicked off its 10-day sojourn in Hawaii today with an appearance at the state Capitol. It will go on to visit schools across Oahu and Maui as well as cultural sites, and conduct interviews with local residents.

C-SPAN is a commercial-free public service that offers gavel-to-gavel coverage of Congress and other forums where public policy is discussed, “all without editing, commentary or analysis and with a balanced presentation of points of view,” as its mission states. It is funded by cable and satellite television providers, including Spectrum in Hawaii.

The bus acts as a multimedia ambassador, spreading the word about C-SPAN’s public affairs programming and extensive online resources, including Supreme Court oral arguments and executive branch briefings. Aboard the bus are tablets and interactive stations as well as a television studio that doubles as a classroom.

“We are excited to have this extended opportunity to introduce more Hawaiians to C-SPAN programming, particularly young Hawaiians, and to create content that will introduce viewers around the rest of the country to some of Hawaii’s rich political, historical and literary culture,” C-SPAN co-CEO Susan Swain said in a statement. “Our thanks to Spectrum for the longtime support of C-SPAN’s public service mission and for hosting us in the state and capital farthest from our home in Washington, D.C.”

The C-SPAN Bus is visiting schools including Damien Memorial, Kamehameha Kapalama, Sacred Hearts, Saint Louis, Central Middle, Waipahu, Mililani, Baldwin and Lahainaluna. It will also visit Boys and Girls Clubs of Hawaii.

Students can learn about what being nonpartisan means and get a glimpse of what C-SPAN and its video-rich website, c-span.org, offer the public.

“We talk with a lot of teachers because all of our programming is archived on our website,” said Rachel Katz, affiliate relations manager for C-SPAN. “It’s all primary source material. It’s a great place for students to come.”

C-SPAN producers are soaking up Hawaiian history and culture, with stops such as Waimea Valley, Iolani Palace, Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, and the Sugar Mill Museum on Maui. They will also interview public officials, historians and authors. All the programming produced in Hawaii will air collectively the weekend of October 6-7. Local residents will also have a chance to raise issues important to them through C-SPAN’s “Voices from the States” social media campaign.

The bus will also encourage students to enter C-SPAN’s StudentCam video documentary contest, which has $100,000 in cash prizes and the theme “What does it mean to be American?” Students in grades six to 12 are encouraged to create video documentaries of 5 to 6 minutes. The deadline for submission is Jan. 20 and more information is available at c-span.org.

The C-SPAN Bus started its 50 Capitals tour in September. C-SPAN has three public affairs television networks, a radio station and a website with vast video archives. In Hawaii, C-SPAN appears on channels 45, 46 and 47.

Bus appearances open to the public include:

>>State Capitol, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. today

>>Duke’s OceanFest, 3:30-6 p.m. Saturday, Waikiki Beach near Duke’s statue

>>Queen Kaahumanu Center, 3-5 p.m. Tuesday, Kahului

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