One night after a long day of midterms and studying, we were given the opportunity to go to Puls 4, a TV news station in Vienna, and sit in the audience for a debate over the presidential election in America.

It took us a long time to find the station, basically our instructions were to step off the Straßenbahn and turn left, but left is a word that can be interpreted in an umber of ways! Eventually, we found a nice man who took out his phone and researched the address for us. Turns out we were pretty close.

Getting a behind the scenes look at how a news station runs was amazing!

We arrived and there were food and drinks set out for everyone. We all stood around for a little talking and getting our make-up done, the men too, until one of the interns asked us all to move into the studio.

The studio was actually really small and we were only sitting maybe a few feet from the main stage. They gave us all exact spots to sit in. I was sitting by another man who came from America, but had lived in Austria for about 30 years. We chatted quietly before they signaled everyone to be quiet and then the show started.

It was very hot under the stage lighting and I was trying very hard not to blink too much and have a pleasant look on my face when the camera scanned the crowed. All the cameramen worked smoothly together and they were constantly moving around to get the best shot, sometimes they even blocked the audiences view of the stage.

Whenever we needed to clap there was someone placed in the audience who was there to initiate the clapping and it was funny listening to the 30 second pause before everyone else started clapping too. Going back to video and watching it again, I could not tell there was any pause and most of the time the audio from the audience wasn’t captured unless there was a mic on one of the audience members.

The actual show was a debate between people for Romney and people for Obama. The guests consisted of a woman who worked for Ronald Reagan, the chief director of the magazine “Liberal”, a journalist from “Der Standard” and a political strategist.

Sometimes I had a hard time understanding the German being spoken, but for the most part it was actually easy to understand.

It was really a wonderful experience to be on Austrian TV and at the same time get a glimpse into how people outside the US view American politics.

See if you can find me!

Photo courtesy of Puls4

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