Schools were closed Monday, but one big yellow bus was running right on schedule.
The C-SPAN School Bus was parked at the north end of the Francis Quadrangle from noon to 4 p.m. to allow students and other Columbia residents to come aboard and learn about the news channel.
“This is one way we reach out to the community,” said John Ximenes, a community relations representative for C-SPAN, who led tours of the bus.
Ximenes explained to visitors that while C-SPAN is not a breaking news network, it does cover the news. The channel’s objective, he said, is to offer uninterrupted and unedited programming that gives viewers both sides of an issue without editorial commentary.
Unlike other news channels, C-SPAN airs entire Senate hearings instead of brief sound bites. Ximenes said this is valuable not only to average citizens, who aren’t able to witness the proceedings, but also to lawmakers who could not attend due to other commitments.
Since the channel does not edit any of its coverage, C-SPAN is useful to people who are particularly passionate about an issue or are curious about how goverment actually works, Ximenes said. He stressed the value of C-SPAN’s “hands off” style of coverage.
“We leave it up to the viewer to decide what is important,” Ximenes said.
Another source of C-SPAN information is the website, www.c-span.org. Scott Peterson, a C-SPAN community relations representative, said the website is a valuable tool for researchers.
“There are literally thousands of hours of archived video on the Web site,” Peterson said.
Peterson estimated that about 100 people visited the bus Monday, which is traveling from the Iowa caucus to South Carolina for that state’s Feb. 3 primary election.
After taking the tour, Lauren Burgoyne, an MU student, said that she was interested in visiting the channel’s Web site.
“I usually watch CNN or Fox News because I don’t have the time to devote to C-SPAN, but the Web site looks really good,” Burgoyne said.