Top of the Morning, Sept. 8, 2018

Top of the Morning, Sept. 8, 2018

What caught the eye of News-Gazette staffers who spent Friday covering Barack Obama's visit?

— Julie Wurth, the only local reporter covering Obama's stop at Caffe Paradiso:

"The pure delight of customers who had no idea he'd be stopping by — and the cafe owner, who was so flustered, she didn't know whether to charge him. And for me, the opportunity to cover a world figure I've watched from afar was a true career highlight. He also took the time to introduce himself to, and shake hands with, those of us in the media he hadn't met before — a thoughtful and classy thing to do."

—Mary Schenk, the only reporter at the President's House as Obama accepted the Paul H. Douglas Award:

"Being within 20 feet of the former leader of the free world was almost as good as the selfie I got with country singing legend Garth Brooks last year. KIDDING. It was awe-inspiring to be in the presence of a Nobel Peace Prize winner being honored for being a decent human committed to doing the right thing. That is real news."

— Stephen Haas, the pool photographer for Obama's stop at Caffe Paradiso:

"I'm clumsy enough as it is. Being sandwiched between network TV camera crews, Secret Service agents and customers/supporters at the coffee shop while carrying three cameras on my shoulders was a fun challenge. Glad I got to be a part of it."

— Robin Scholz, outside Foellinger Auditorium as Obama spoke inside:

"The chants of 'Obama' from UI students who didn't get tickets created energy in a very wet atmosphere. And so many of them were watching the speech on their phones and computers."

— Ben Zigterman, outside FlightStar in Savoy:

"Everyone at the airport was eager to catch a glimpse of Obama, even if the Secret Service wasn't eager to let us. Every so often, they had to tell the dozen or so gawkers where not to go or to take a step back. But when Obama arrived and the motorcade rolled by, everyone got to snap some pictures and wave, hoping they were waving at the right car."