Outside the Debate
The news media also played an important role on campus before and during the debate. Media coverage also brought national attention to Nashville and to Belmont for those not familiar with the city or university. On campus, news and media sets were built on campus and many live broadcasts took place on the day of the debate. Cable networks, in particular, enjoyed a sunny fall day as they aired newscasts and interviews to millions of Americans across the nation and the world. These networks included CNN and Fox News, as well as NBC, ABC, and CBS. In addition, the debate was broadcast live on all major channels. Overall, Belmont and the debate were given high marks, and media coverage of the event was a positive for the university.
Outside of the debate tent, located on Belmont University’s north lawn, media heads out to take a tour of the Curb Event Center, the location of the final presidential debate, prior to this historic event.
The inside of the media tent at Belmont University on October 16, 2020.
Anderson Cooper reports on the debate for CNN in front of Belmont’s Maddox Grand Atrium. Belmont banners can be seen on both the right and the left of Cooper.
Reporters for Fox News in front of the Bell Tower featuring a “Belmont University” banner prior to the debate.
This election cycle was undoubtedly one of the more consequential and polarized in our nation’s history. Passion, on both sides, was high in the weeks and months leading up to the debate and this affected the candidates, campaigns, and voters. Hot button issues included climate change, health care, “law and order,” immigration, gun reform, and racial justice. Though only a few people were allowed to attend the debate, the streets surrounding Belmont University drew demonstrators from all sides. These peaceful demonstrators made their voices heard as the candidates stepped onto the stage.
‘Dump Trump’ signs and Biden supporters outside of Belmont University on day of debate.
Trump supporters holding Trump supporting flags outside of Belmont University on day of debate.
Social Media played a major role in the debate both on and off campus. Throughout the campaign season, social media was the main platform for outreach, activism, and engagement. Belmont’s two primary accounts were @belmontu and @belmonttoday and reached millions through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Belmont University’s main Instagram page, @belmontu, primarily posted about interactions on and off campus in the lead up to the debate, and @belmonttoday focused on engaging the student body during this major event. A centralized space including details related to academic programming in advance of the debate was hosted on a dedicated website: BelmontDebate2020.com.