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Lights, Camera, Convention

Lights, Camera, ConventionWith top internships and an innovative new course, more than 40 Tufts students will get a behind-the-scenes peek at Boston’s upcoming Democratic National Convention. Boston.

Boston [07.02.04] On July 26, thousands of delegates, hundreds of journalists and scores of political heavy hitters will descend upon Boston for the Democratic National Convention - which will be seen by millions of TV viewers as part of the highly-watched 2004 presidential campaign. But more than 40 Tufts students will have a closer look: from inside news organizations and the democrats planning the four-day event. In an innovative course and internship program designed to unmask the ins and outs of a political convention, Tufts students won't just be summer interns - they'll be part of history.

"The cameras, the lights, the flags, the neon, the huge signage," Roberta Oster Sachs told the Associated Press. "People have spent years preparing for these four days. For my students to have the opportunities to witness this show will be very exciting for them."

A senior fellow at the University College of Citizenship and Public Service, Sachs - an Emmy-winning television producer - is teaching a five-week summer course on the convention and civic engagement.

For most students, the course will be taken in conjunction with internships at the Democratic National Committee or a major news organization - 16 students at NBC News, 10 at Fox News, 10 at the DNC and eight for the Associated Press. Students from Tufts will also be participating in the Republican National Convention in New York, bringing the total to more than 50 internships at the two conventions.

With real-world experience by day and classes by night, Sachs hopes to give the students a broad portrait of the politics behind a major party convention.

Covering topics including the history of the convention, the role of media coverage and electoral politics, the course - which is open to all members of the Tufts community - will allow students to contextualize their internship experiences.

Guest speakers from members of state government and a panel of top journalists will also give students a new perspective on the event.

Tufts graduate Alan Solomont - a seasoned democratic political player who helped raise record sums for presumed nominee Senator John Kerry - will speak on campaign finance and what goes on behind the scenes to get candidates elected.

With all the insider access, Sachs "said some students may be repelled by what they see when, as in the Wizard of Oz, Democrats ‘pull back the curtain' to show the internal workings of the convention," reported AP, in a story that ran in more than 40 news outlets across the country and in the UK.

But as AP reported, Sachs said the "students will revel in the unveiling of the spectacle."

This isn't the first time Tufts students have been offered an insider's view from a veteran journalist - Boston Globe reporter and media critic Mark Jurkowitz has taught a course on media ethics at Tufts' ExCollege for the past three years.

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