ISU professor volunteers to work at Presidential Inaugural Ball
Jan 20, 2013 (The Pantagraph - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Many Illinoisans traveling to Washington D.C. for inauguration
SPRINGFIELD -- Illinoisans from across the state will gather Monday at the nation's Capitol to see President Barack Obama sworn in a second tim... Read more
NORMAL -- An Illinois State University professor is hoping his stint as a press liaison at Monday's Presidential Inaugural Ball will give him insights he can share with his students.
"When I first volunteered, I would've been happy just taking tickets at the ball," said John McHale, who teaches media writing in ISU's School of Communication.
But two weeks after he submitted detailed information about his interests, skills and experience, he was interviewed over the phone, then later selected to work with the press team.
McHale doesn't know what his duties will be. He will participate in training sessions after his arrival Thursday in Washington, D.C.
"I hope to gain some practical knowledge on public relations at the presidential level and can bring back knowledge to the students. I love my job as a teacher," McHale said.
Among the books he has written is "Communicating for Change: Strategies of Social and Political Advocates." He is hoping to get a closer look at "the relationship between presidential spokesmen and the media," how they use talking points to try to control their message and to "gain an appreciation for strategies."
But this is more than an academic exercise for McHale.
He said the opportunity to witness the inauguration for a second term of the "first president of color" and having that inauguration occur on the day set aside to honor the civil rights legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. "sends patriotic shivers down my spine."
He also has a ticket to the swearing-in ceremony, courtesy of U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock.
"I really appreciate his ability to work in a bipartisan fashion across the aisle," McHale said of the Peoria Republican.
McHale also appreciates ISU's encouragement of civic engagement by its students, faculty and staff.
"Civic engagement also helps me be a better teacher," he said.
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