Andrew Bernius, ’08, spends his days quite literally shining a light on the inner workings of Washington politics — as a broadcast technician for C-SPAN.
After graduating with a Communication degree and minoring in Political Science, Bernius found a job at the network, which specializes in government and public affairs programming as a production assistant. Since being hired, he has covered two presidential elections, several congressional and gubernatorial elections, 2014 midterm elections and is currently covering campaign-related events for the 2016 presidential election.
“Election time is always our busiest time of year and in my opinion the most exciting,” said Bernius.
Bernius says that while many of his colleagues are real congressional policy wonks that thrive on the day-to-day grind of Congress, he prefers the "horse races" of November - especially presidential elections.
“During our 2012 election night coverage I was the technician in charge of securing, recording and processing all of the campaign feeds that were being fed back to C-SPAN from various campaign headquarters, polling places, studios and victory celebrations across the country,” explained Bernius. “C-SPAN’s unique coverage of all of the presidential debates and party conventions are another huge highlight of our election coverage.”
Bernius says that at C-SPAN he and his co-workers go by the generic title of broadcast technician because with C-SPAN being a non-profit, and relatively small operation for a national network, they rely on do-it-all technicians to perform the duties of what would typically be done by multiple employees at larger national networks.
The C-SPAN network includes three television channels, one radio station and a group of websites that provide streaming media and archives of C-SPAN programs.
“Generally I rotate between three assignments during a typical 12-hour shift,” said Bernius. “I'll either be in a control room for C-SPAN 1, 2, or 3 directing a variety of programs, in our Tech Center routing feeds from around the world into our servers for recording or editing shoots as they come back from the field.”
In late April, the Flagler grad enjoyed one of the perks of working for a major media outlet when attended the popular White House Correspondents’ Dinner. It was Bernius’ first time participating in the event marked by fanfare and a celebrity guest list.
“It was an amazing experience,” he said. “Highlights for me included meeting (New England Patriots coach) Bill Belichick and (Seattle Seahawks quarterback) Russell Wilson and getting to see members of the casts of ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Game of Thrones.’ Additionally, it was wonderful to get to chat with so many other radio, TV, and print professionals in my field. It seemed like I saw almost every big-time journalist currently working for a major outlet.”
Though Bernius has worked very hard to get where he is, he is quick to credit his preparation and passion for covering government and public affairs to the mentors he had at Flagler College.
It was professors like (retired) Professor Rob Armstrong and (Associate Professor) Helena Sarkio that really nudged me in the direction of politics,” said Bernius. “Armstrong with his guidance and a lifetime of experience on Capitol Hill. And Sarkio, my adviser while at Flagler, encouraged me to add a political science minor and to apply for an internship in D.C. and summer courses at Georgetown University.”
Now that he lives in the nation’s capitol, a town of transplants, Bernius says he has met people from all over the country and all over the globe, all with diverse college experiences. Because of that, Bernius is sure of one thing.
“The more people I meet and discuss college backgrounds with, the more my opinion that Flagler College is a uniquely special place is confirmed,” he said.