Day five – the conference is coming to an end

Today was an amazing day at the WJMC. 

I got to meet with my representative Todd Platts which was amazing.  Every time I hear intelligent politicians speak (and especially passionate ones) it really makes me want to become involved in politics.  Todd Platts was an incredibly nice person, and was very down-to-earth.  He spoke to me, my friend Kasi, and another girl who was from PA.  The meeting lasted for 40 minutes, but it was really great to be able to speak with him, ask him questions, and listen to him talk about life as a legislator.

Another great thing I took away from it was his discussion about internships.  He said that they take on high school interns, but more importantly college interns who can go on to get jobs in his office.  I think I might look into that…

Anyway, after that my friend and I walked around Washington DC, had our picture taken in front of the Capitol, and then went to the train station to find some coffee.

Once we got out of DC we came back to get ready for the Gala which was amazing.  I took alot of pictures there which is actually a bit rare for me.  It was a lot of fun.

I’m actually very sad that WJMC is coming to an end.  I’ve made such great friendships while I was here, and have had an overall amazing experience listening to the speakers and learning all I can about journalism. 

So sadly this will probably be my last, or at least close to last blog about the WJMC.  It’s been an amazing experience – one that’s sadly hard for me to put in words (ironic because I’m writing a blog huh?)  But I’ll definitely always remember this experience.  Fortunately I took notes so I can reflect on what I learned more fully when I get home and get a chance to process things.  I will probably also follow all the speakers on twitter and try to send thank yous of some sort.  I really appreciated them taking time to talk to us students at WJMC.

Anyway, I will have to get some sleep now.  Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday which is a perfect day to be back at home with my family.

  Thanks for reading!


Day four

Unfortunately I didn’t get to post last night because we got into our room very late and I had to get up really early the next morning. 

 So far the Conference has been amazing!  I’m really sad that it’s almost coming to an end.  I’ve met so many great people and have heard a lot of great speakers. 

Today we went to an early taping of C-Span which was amazing!  It was fun to see what taping a live television show involves, and it was really great to hear professionals speaking about politics and journalism.  I learned a lot by observing their conversation and back-and-forth banter.

After the taping of C-Span we got to talk to John Earnest, White House Press Secretary and Special Assistant to the President.   Which was needless to say…. Amazing!  Being really into politics, I’ve just been trying to soak up everything I hear and learn as much as possible with the little time I have.    So it’s really great to hear all these  wonderful speakers, and John Earnest was undoubtedly one of the many highlights of the trip.

A couple hours and 5-minute naps later and we traveled back to the George Mason Fairfax campus to listen to Sari Horwitz and Scott Higham discuss their journey putting together the “Finding Chandra” story.  It was all about investigative journalism and the difficulties they faced, which I found extremely intriguing.  Even though I’m not quite sure investigative journalism is for me (or what some of the other speakers specialized in for that matter) I’m still enjoying learning as much as I can about all the different media/journalism related fields while I’m here. 

After their discussion, we got to hear Dean Flagel talk about the college admissions process which was a blast.  Dean Flagel was hilarious and really kept the room full of energy!  To be honest, I’ve been through quite a few admissions talks, so it wasn’t exactly the content of the speech that interested me as much as his hilarious one-liners.  He was a great, down to earth type of person which you don’t really see too often with college deans.  It was a great way to end the night.

It’s currently 11:19 right now though, and I’m dead tired so unfortunately I’m going to bring this blog to a close.  Thanks for reading, and I’ll write more later when my eyes aren’t about 3/4 of the way shut.

Day two

View of Washington DC - By Jenna Welsh

It’s 6 a.m. and the blaring alarm goes off.  I stagger out of bed and try to hop into the shower before my roomate wakes up, and the bathroom gets too occupied (and believe me, 4 girls to a bathroom can be tricky).  As the day goes on and I continue to stagger around my dark room like a zombie, I’m becoming more and more excited about the Washington Journalism and Media Conference (I’ve finally realized where I am by now).

Today began with a quick breakfast – that is once me and my friend found the building, of pancakes and green tea.  Sadly, there was no Starbucks. Isn’t it crazy that they open at 8 a.m. I mean it’s for coffee drinkers for heaven’s sake.  We get up early!

After breakfast we were off to visit the Newseum which was amazing!  The student correspondents got to see the Berlin Wall exhibit, 911 exhibit, the Hurricane Katrina exhibit, and much more great exhibits related to news.  I could have spent all day looking at the fascinating exhibits!

One of my personal favorites was the Pulizter Prize winning photographs.  We as student correspondents saw heart-wretching photos of the brutality in Bangkok, Iranian hostages returning home, Sunni Muslims being executed in Iran, and much more.

After the Newsuem we partcipated in some group activites and got to hear some more speakers.  I personally went to Steve Farnsworth’s and Tom Jackman’s sessions which were amazing!  The first was about politics and the second about criminal reporting.  I’m not sure which field interests me more.  At this point, I think the whole world of journalism is fascinating to explore!

Anyway, it is 10:47 p.m. and oddly enough, I’m exhausted and can barley keep my eyes open enough to make sure that there aren’t any of those embarassing typos that we all hate peppered throughout this blog.

Thanks for reading about my second day at the Washington Journalism and Media Conference.  Stay tuned for day three!

Day one

I arrived at the George Mason University today at about 1 p.m. and so far the Washington Journalism and Media Conference has been an absolutely amazing experience!  The student correspondents got to hear Chris Cilliza, author of “The Fix” speak.  He offered valuable insight into the different mediums of mass communication/journalism and described his own experience in the world of journalism.  After his speech, I had the chance to ask him a couple questions and asked how he finds his sources, and handles difficult sources.  His words of advice were very valuable and resonated with me strongly.  Mr. Cilliza said that when he first started out, he dreaded making what he described as “cold calls” and said that what he found out is that you have to talk personably with people and develop a relationship with them before prodding for information.  I think his advice makes a lot of sense, and is definitely something to consider about before venturing into the journalism field. 

He also said that when he first started out he relied on being assigned stories, but now that he’s been in the field for a while he can search out his own stories. 

I found his speech fascinating and was really excited to hear what he had to say. 

I’m very excited to hear the rest of our speakers and ask them questions as well.

In sum, day one of the Washington Journalism and Media Conference was a blast!