For four years, I wrote game and feature stories on any all things sports at Temple. But it kind of happened by accident.
As a nervous freshman in 2004, passionate about writing and trying to find my niche on campus, I walked into the Temple News office just before winter break. I was so nervous, that when asked what experience I had, I could only muster up, “well, I was the sports editor of my high school paper.”
Little did they know, my high school paper was only published two or three times a year. But that’s a different story.
After covering a wide array of sports on campus and learning a lot along the way, I finally saw the chance of a lifetime come in the form of a campaign stop at the Constitution Center.
It was Spring 2008 and then Sen. Barack Obama was traveling furiously around the country urging voters to select him as the Democratic nominee for president.
I’ve always loved politics, so there was no way I wasn’t going to the event. I remember peddling my bike down the Spring Garden Street bike lane faster than ever to get to the Constitution Center to meet my colleague, Chris Wink, who was also very enthusiastic about covering the event.
I remember seeing so many big shot reporters and anchors at the event, many whom I had looked up to for years. I recall being very aware of how young and unprofessional I may have seemed to be compared to the veteran reporters, but I didn’t care. I didn’t have any fancy equipment or a team of six with me to help tell the story. I was there with my pen and notepad and I was there to tell the story.
Once Obama began his remarks, I could tell this was no ordinary speech. On that day, he spoke openly about race and his background, and how he refused to let controversial remarks made by his former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright shape the broader issue of race in the United States.
This was likely the biggest speech of the 2008 campaign and an unforgettable one for many Americans. I’m thankful I was able to be a part of history and glad I was able to share the story with the Temple University community.
Melissa DiPento worked for The Temple News in 2004–08.