This story was written by Andy Ouriel, The BG News
Last night, ABC World News Tonight anchor Charles Gibson left the familiar comforts of his Time Square studio to broadcast live from the lawn in front of University Hall.
On its second stop of the "Great American Battleground Bus Tour," ABC News came to Bowling Green State Universityto discuss the major issues facing college students and voters in Northwest Ohio.
Bowling Green was chosen, in part, for its convenience, said Gibson. Located off of Interstate 75, it was an easy stop for the World News Tonight crew that broadcasted from Dayton on Monday.
"It was an accident of geography," Gibson said.
Bowling Green also fit ABC News' other requirements for their week-long tour.
"We wanted to go to smaller towns and one college campus along the way," Gibson said. "It's a good school. People know it; it's a large campus."
ABC News first decided on taking a bus tour as a way to get out and hear what voters have to say about the relative issues.
But Gibson jokes that he has learned nothing, saying most of what he has heard in Ohio has reinforced predictions he already had about what is on the minds of voters.
"When we started out, I thought people's concerns [would] probably be evenly divided by national security and the economy when we first conceived of this two and a half months ago, and yet nobody has mentioned national security," he said.
While in Bowling Green, Gibson touched on an issue particularly relevant to college students. During the broadcast, he talked about student loans. The broadcast included footage from his discussion earlier in the day with a political science class comprised of freshmen who spoke directly about this issue.
"They are worried about whether money will be there for college loans to get them through four years, and that expresses some lack of faith in the system," he said.
Although students do worry about student loans, many were excited to see a major network news anchor on their campus. Hundreds lined up behind the World News Tonight set to catch a glimpse of Gibson, applauding as he made his entrance before the 6:30 p.m. broadcast.
"This was really well done and impressive," senior Kevin Clark said after he watched Gibson's broadcast.
Many think broadcasting ABC's newscast will help increase the awareness of the University.
Most in attendance stood quietly on the sidelines while Gibson spoke on the air. But one rowdy observer began heckling the anchor with shouts of, "I love Fox News!" and "You're a bully, Charlie! I love Sarah Palin!"
"You can't be in a big public place and not expect people to do that sort of thing," said Tom Nagorski, senior producer for World News Tonight.
Following the debate, Gibson was live on the air with 12 students, some Democratic, some Republican and some undecided, who gave their opinions on how they felt from what they saw.
"It was awesome" said junior Brittany Fiffick in reference to being with Gibson during the debates. "It was an honor to represent the University."
Fiffick was chosen out of about 50 students who were screened by the University to take part in the post-debate broadcast, according to Dave Kielmeyer, senior communications director for the University.
One of the panelists, senior Jacob Smith of the Firelands campus, found out Monday night that he had been selected after he was nominated by the Dean of the Firelands college.
"I was very excited when I found out," he said.
The panel represented a cross section of the student body, from graduate students to undergraduates.
"I think they selected me because I'm younger and from a small town and they wanted to round out the panel," freshman Maggie Long said.
Between the World News Tonight broadcast and the post-debate coverage, Bowling Green had a right to be proud yesterday, interim University President Carol Cartwright said.
"This has been a wonderful day to showcase the excellence of BGSU," Cartwright said. "It put a great spotlight on us and the community and we rose to the occasion."