Fourth Grade Interviews Campaign Reporter Laurye Blackford

The Indian Creek School Class of 2029 has delved into their American Government studies by learning about the election process and holding a campaign and election of their own.  After studying the election process in social studies class, the fourth grade students had the opportunity to learn from a very special guest.  The class had a surprise zoom call from (Hudson’s mom) author Gayle Lemmon and (Hudson’s aunt) Laurye Blackford.  Ms. Blackford is a campaign reporter and television producer who has covered countless elections, including the current presidential race.  She has produced a number of political programs including “The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth,” “Chain of Command,” and “Good Morning America.” 

Ms. Blackford shared inside details with the students about what it is like to cover presidential candidates throughout the election. As she told the class, campaign reporters follow the candidates and report on everything that they say and do – from really silly things to really important things. She shared with the students that it is important for reporters to understand and communicate not only personal details about the candidates, but also what their positions on issues are. When asked about some of her favorite moments on the campaign trail, Ms. Blackford shared that “It’s really funny in the summer to see candidates go to all of the state fairs. They eat carnival foods, ride rides, and even pet pigs.” She also told stories about seeing a candidate fall off of the stage because it wasn’t marked correctly. The lesson there was that “Details matter.”  She also explained to the students that being a campaign reporter isn’t always exciting.  It often consists of a lot of waiting for the phone to ring.  The ICS students had great questions for Ms. Blackford, including “What is it like to see the candidates up close?,” “How do you stay safe doing this job during the pandemic?,” “Do people try to hog the camera?,” and “How have campaigns have changed over the years?”  Ms. Blackford was pleased to report that the campaign pool is much more diverse now than it used to be. She observed that five women ran in state primaries this year. 

To conclude her visit with the class, she described to the students some ways that they can get involved. “It’s exactly what you’re doing at Indian Creek,” she shared.  “Learn the process, recreate it, live it. Write letters, read the news, and talk to your parents about important subjects.

For the culmination of their Elections unit, the fourth grade is experiencing an exciting campaign between candidates are Snoopy and Woodstock. They students came up with their platforms and what Snoopy and Woodstock both think on the issues like: virtual vs. in-person school, uniforms, “Holiday chill breaks,” homework passes, and more. Fourth grade students have debated these topics and are eagerly anticipating their election next week!