Five members and an advisor of Clarion University’s student media organizations joined a media entourage that included local, national and international journalists to cover the Flight 93 National Memorial Dedication and 10th Commemorative Service Sept. 10-11 in Shanksville, Somerset County.
Dr. Laurie S. Miller, advisor of The Clarion Call, and student media representatives Russell Pekelnicky of the Clarion Call; Matthew Knoedler, Kelly Prozialeck and Katie Anderson from WCUB-TV; and Brittany Bender from WCUC-FM obtained National Park Service and White House press credentials and teamed up to provide coverage of the events.
“I got to take the experience that I’ve acquired at WCUC-FM and apply it at a major national ceremony,” Bender said. “Being there amongst fellow journalists, politicians, the family members of those aboard Flight 93 and thousands of other Americans made me so proud to be studying to be a journalist at Clarion University.”
Student media covered the ceremonies and interviewed such dignitaries as former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, Sen. Bob Casey, former Gov. Ed Rendell, Flight 93 families and other visitors to the memorial site.
“Talking to political leaders at the event was a wonderful experience, and having them attend an event in a little town such as Shanksville empowered me,” Prozialeck said. “The courageous act of the 40 passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 left me speechless, and it was a moving experience to be a part of their memorial dedication.”
Throughout the weekend, students posted photographs, news briefs and tweets on The Clarion Call’s website at www.clarioncallnews.com and Twitter. Student reports on the 9/11 events at the Flight 93 site will be broadcast on WCUC-FM and WCUB-TV and published in The Clarion Call.
“As a journalist, I thoroughly enjoyed what I was able to do this weekend. It was amazing to meet some of the family members of those who died on Sept. 11. To hear their stories of that day and their accounts from within the last 10 years was truly sobering,” Knoedler said. “It was somewhat of a ‘watch-and-learn’ experience: I did my job as I knew how, but I was always looking for better ways to get the job done. It was a fantastic learning experience.”