FPU Leads Students to Inauguration

Jan 11, 2017

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Franklin Pierce University lead a student media team from the New Hampshire Student Media Association to Washington, D.C. to cover the U.S. Presidential Inauguration in January, thanks to the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation (NHCF).

Dr. Kristen Nevious, Director of the Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication, and faculty member Heather Tullio lead eight collegiate journalists from Franklin Pierce’s PoliticsFitzU—who covered various events throughout the 2016 election cycle as credentialed media, from both national conventions to the first vote at Dixville Notch, and more— plus sixteen local high school students and four advisors to the swearing-in on the Capitol Steps.

The high school students represent Conant, ConVal, Keene, Kingswood, Souhegan and Pinkerton high schools. Adam Theriault of Souhegan, Rachael Summer-Leonard of Keene, Greg Leonard of Conval and Seth Farmer of Conant—a Franklin Pierce alumni—will travel with the group as advisors. Advisors Jennifer Warburton of Pinkerton and Gordon Lang of Kingswood also have students traveling with the group. 

“The Fitzwater Center and Franklin Pierce have always leveraged our geography in the Granite State, home to the first-in-the-nation primary, to provide immersive experiences that challenge student perspectives, engage their intellects and help them find their voices in the public discourse that is so essential to the health of our democracy,” Nevious said. “We are very grateful to the NHCF for helping us build this foundation on which student journalism can thrive in New Hampshire.”

“Two of our students, Michelle Jarest and Jason Frank, have what could be a once in a lifetime experience by being present at the U.S. Presidential Inauguration. By extension, it will be an exceptional opportunity for the students of ConVal High School to experience the Presidential Inauguration through two of their own, as will the greater Monadnock community,” added Leonard. Jarest and Frank will report about their experience through ConVal’s magazine, The Link, which is also published in the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript. 

All student journalists and advisors have applied for press credentials through the Presidential Inauguration Committee, which hosts events such as the parade, balls and National Prayer Service. Those who are approved for passes will then begin secret service credentialing.

The swearing-in, which is hosted by Congress, requires separate credentials for the media outlet. Nevious has applied for these credentials through the Senate Periodical Press Gallery to send student journalists to cover the inauguration of Donald J. Trump from the Capitol Steps, although the majority of the students will cover this historic event from the National Mall where they will interview guests and attendees.

Nevious also arranged for a Capitol tour with United States Senator for New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen’s office, and is seeking interviews with the congressional delegation.

This venture was funded by a NH Charitable Foundation grant to “The Presidency and the Press,” a high school journalism program run by Nevious and the Fitzwater Center. The grant also enabled the launch of the New Hampshire Student Media Association and the online publication, Granite State Student Voice. Students who participated in the summer 2016 workshop have maintained the publication throughout the fall and will publish their inauguration coverage on the site, as well.

The group also seeks to match each school team with a local media mentor, to whom the students can provide election coverage. Interested media should contact Kristen Nevious at