Students Hold Impromptu, Ill-Attended Press Conference

We received a call at the office on Monday afternoon about a press conference to be held the next morning in front of the Capitol to support AIDS research. A news release from the GW Student Global AIDS Campaign listed 16 different organizations that would be participating in this GW-organized event. Student organizers also said they would be meeting personally with Sen. Joseph Biden, Sen. Russ Feingold, Sen. Richard Lugar, and two congressmen.

So we scrambled to get a reporter and a photographer to the Capitol at 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, and what we found was hardly what the release had described. Justine Karp, our reporter on the scene described what happened:

Outside Capitol

(Ryder Haske/Hatchet Assistant Photo Editor)

“What was supposed to be a fiery press conference featuring 16 organizations turned out to be several college students talking to an empty crowd in front of the Capitol Tuesday morning.

Students gathered around senior Tucker Landesman as he spoke about President Bush’s emergency plan for AIDS relief and how his $15 billion dollar commitment is a not enough. They originally tried to stand on bleachers (pictured in background above), but a law enforcement officer told him that was a reserved area and instructed them to get off.

‘…30 billion falls short of what it will take to develop a sustainable system of intervention,’ he said. ‘The facts are in and the numbers are crunched and the world needs 59 billion dollars according to fact and logic.’

We were the only media in attendance, and perhaps also the only audience members.

Following the speech students visited the offices of Senator Biden, Feingold, and Lugar to deliver oversized thank-you cards for committing to $50 billion over five years for global AIDS. None of the senators were available, however. Senator Biden, for one, was in a meeting (pictured below).

A professional staff member Shellie Bressler said,’You guys coming in here is very beneficial and it shows that young people care.'”

Biden’s Office

(Ryder Haske/Hatchet Assistant Photo Editor)

This just goes to show that not everything turns out to be a story. There are a lot of things that we look into that never make it into the paper because they don’t end up being newsworthy. The photographer missed a class, and the writer got up four hours earlier than necessary. But had it been something huge, we certainly would have regretted not going.


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