Getting to know Greater Lafayette through journalism has so far been an absolutely invaluable learning experience.
As the Journal and Courier’s business reporter for almost two months, I have had the opportunity to talk to people from just about every type of background.I’ve spoken to CEOs of multimillion-dollar companies and small business owners and unemployed men who live in low-income housing and are on Medicaid.
Those people may live worlds apart, but they each have unique and important perspectives.
And—surprisingly, something in common.
Each person’s activities and opinions have an impact on the local business community. Perception often becomes reality.
My job as a journalist is to provide coverage of local (and localized) business issues in articles that contain meaningful context, so interested readers can have a clearer picture of how those issues directly or indirectly affect their daily lives.
I am grateful to all of the people so far who have given me a few minutes out of their day to help me put these issues into perspective for the rest of the community.
Each source I’ve talked to, no matter his or her background, has helped me inform readers about fascinating topics that I never imagined I’d be reporting about. (If you know any other business reporter who has written two articles about manure within one week, I’ll mail you a crisp $20.)
Getting a chance to help with some of the Journal and Courier’s drought coverage has been especially informative.
As a city girl who grew up near Chicago and went to college in Indianapolis, agriculture isn’t exactly something I’m familiar with.
No one participated in the 4-H program or worked at a sweet-corn stand where I come from. We would just go to the mall and eat Chinese takeout.
The first time I even stepped foot on a farm was in May. Needless to say, I probably should have changed out of my black high heels before getting out of the car.
The smell of fresh, country air certainly isn’t something I’m used to, but the entire industry is fascinating to me and I am excited for the chance to sink my heels deep into it and analyze issues that are important to Journal and Courier readers.
It is hard to believe that I’ve spent nearly two months at the Journal & Courier as its business reporter—the amazing experiences I’ve had so far make it feel like two days.
And while I look forward to much more time getting to know this community, I’m especially grateful today for the chance to help inform it.
The past two weeks were filled with so many bittersweet moments. It’s hard to believe that on Saturday I’m going to walk across a stage in Hinkle Fieldhouse and President Danko will hand me my diploma. And then, this chapter of my life is officially over. I’ll have undergraduate degrees in journalism and political science from Butler University.
No more plenary sessions about ancient Hindu texts or 40-page papers on South Korea’s media system or getting denied interviews for your enterprise story on collective bargaining because you don’t have professional credentials.
Sure, it’s been stressful, but overall, this has been absolutely incredible.
While I may be closing this chapter, I’m really happy that despite life’s craziness, I was able to make some lasting amazing memories with my college friends that more than adequately give this amazing chapter some closure.
My roommates and friends have been bucket-listing pretty hardcore the past few weeks, trying to squeeze in “the last” insert-favorite-activity-here. From revisiting the first restaurant that we went to on the first weekend of freshman year one last time, to romping around our freshman and sophomore year dorm rooms one last time, to going out to our favorite bar one last time, it’s been pretty nostalgic.
Graduation isn’t just a time for celebrating with friends, though. It is supposed to be a time for self-reflection. This is something I would usually brush off for fear of being really lame, but I think a little self-reflection on the past four years, and especially senior year, would do me good.
These four years have been the most dynamic of my life. It sounds really stupid and cliché, but I walked in to Butler University a girl and walked out a woman.
I walked in a student and walked out a journalist. I walked in self-conscious and walked out confident. I walked in thinking I’d find out all the answers and walked out with the realization that questions are more important and that life isn’t any fun if you know all the answers.
One of the biggest realizations that I’ve had during college is a rude awakening about how privileged and lucky I am to be educated. From the moment I was born, my amazing parents had this Saturday—my graduation—in mind. My entire life, they’ve worked to get me here.
No matter how stressful life gets, or how impossible it seems sometimes, the truth is that I am so blessed. I have a life that is so full and I have an amazing chance to turn all of those blessings into something.
Here’s something that’s been on my bucket list for a while. Since all of the papers are turned in and I have nothing else to write for a few weeks, I figured now is as good a time as any to spend some time on this: 50 things I’m grateful for (in no particular order).
1. That I have friends who challenge me to think for myself and to expand my mind to more deeply understand myself and the world
2. I hate to admit it, but The Butler Way, which “demands commitment, denies selfishness and accepts reality, yet seeks constant improvement while promoting the good of the team above self.”
3. My Tetris obsession, which I’m 90 percent sure is the fastest way to cure writer’s block
4. The clarity that comes from driving late at night with a friend, a cig and a good song
5. The First Amendment and the fact that we were forced to memorize it in high school so we’ll never forget it
6. When a good song says it better than I ever could
7. That feeling you get when you find an awesome story in an otherwise boring document or when you finally know what your lede should be
8. The existence of copy desks/editors
9. Fellow interns: The good, the bad, the ugly. Yes, even the skinterns
10. The Butler Collegian quote wall
11. Friendships with people who will not judge you, regardless how monumentally screwed up what you’re about to tell them is
12. That no matter how good or bad a situation is, it will change
13. That my mom cares so much about me that she will research every aspect of my life and send me an email with about 10 choices of what I could do
14. My dad, who is exactly like me and always knows the right thing to say
15. Each staff member of my college and high school newspapers, who challenged me, overjoyed me, frustrated me and inspired me each day for the past 8 years
16. My high school and college journalism advisers who taught me so much about how to be a compassionate journalist
17. Having friends who have known and loved me exactly as I am since Kindergarten
18. That I’m just as close, if not closer, with my high school best friends as I was during high school
19. A relatively thick skin
20. That Mackie, Ann, Grace and I could not be more different if we tried, but we have been through it all together
21. That I got to live in Washington, D.C. for a semester and report/write for one of the best political newspapers in the country
22. Emails from Marc Allan, regardless if he tells me that my article kicks ass or that “Sometimes, Hayleigh, you just suck.”
23. Each lovely and brilliant child in my Sunday school class who constantly remind me that there is beauty in purity and innocence and that kids are way, way smarter than adults
24. My crazy and loving Italian extended family
25. That God meets you exactly where you are and really doesn’t care how much you’ve screwed up
26. Tea, especially brewed lovingly by my caring roommates/saints when they put homework on hold to hear about the thing they’ll-never-believe-happened-at-the-Collegian-tonight
27. That my gut instinct is usually pretty much spot on
28. That I got a job at a newspaper two months before graduating college
29. That the majority of my best friends all got jobs or internships or got into grad school too
30. That I have friends who are just as nerdy about journalism as I am
31. That the NICAR conference exists, where I plan to meet all of my future husbands
32. That I’m not the same person I was four years ago, or even four months ago
33. The inverted pyramid
34. That true friendships can bounce back from anything
35. That great sushi can be found in strip malls
36. That I’m not shy about what I want, even if it gets me into trouble or lets me down sometimes
37. That reporting gives me the chance to meet and talk to so many fascinating people
38. Soulmates: Maggie Perion, Jenna Hacker, Zach Pope, Amber Kaspar, Linda Brozyna, Joe Buzzelli, Mackenzie Szymanski
39. That Sara, Olivia and I got to see next year’s Collegian leaders bonding over staff hiring and their plans
40. Starbucks and my MacBook and everything materialistic but awesome like that
41. That busting out to Eminem or Nicki Minaj is all it takes for me to get really pumped up
42. That my friends don’t wait for a special occasion to drink the good stuff
43. My mentors at The Hill, Dittoe, Wisconsin State Journal and IBJ
44. That making mistakes is okay as long as you move forward
45. Even Barack Obama puts his pants on one leg at a time
46. That no matter what, my Catholics will always be there for me
47. The relatively good health genes in my family
48. The moment I realized that dreading asking tough interview questions is pointless because people actually answer them
49. Those really large bottles of Riesling and Moscato
50. That I made it through college without having a major quarter life crisis
At the beginning of the semester, I started panicking a little about wrapping up my college/ pre-professional career, often fretting that “I haven’t learned everything about journalism yet” and that “I wish I knew more about XYZ.”
It is hard to believe that I am almost finished with my internship at the Indianapolis Business Journal. It is also hard to believe that this will be my last internship before heading to Lafayette in May to start my first full-time reporting job at the Journal & Courier.
My internship at the IBJ has taught me that the learning process is never over and that I don’t really have to worry about not knowing everything there is to know about journalism. Figuring out the answers to questions is kind of the point of this whole professional anyway… and lucky me, I just spent eight years as a student journalist getting trained to ask questions.
I have been really fortunate here to work with an editor who spends a lot of time with me fine-tuning my reporting and writing. Andrea is unbelievably helpful, always there to discuss story ideas or give me cheerful advice. And if she wants to change something in my writing, she always asks me why I wrote it that way and what I think about the change.
I hope I am that kind of editor one day, and I feel extremely lucky that I’m getting this type of help right before I venture out into the real world.
Out of all of my assignments, I’m most proud of a story about Southport, a small Marion County city that’s going through financial struggles due to missteps in its former administration’s financial reporting.
It was a tough story, mostly because I had to make sense of stacks upon stacks of audit report findings, state databases and tax information. I think I called my new friend at the DLGF 10 to 15 times to seek clarification on sections of the reports, but I am proud to say that with the help of my editor, I navigated through it pretty seamlessly. Understanding local government finance is tricky, so I think my new skills and confidence will help me on future assignments.
At the beginning of the semester, I set four goals for the internship. My two personal goals were to become a better time manager and more organized. I’ve definitely surprised myself with my ability to juggle a lot of balls at once.
Also, this semester, between working at the IBJ and at The Collegian, I’ve had to juggle upwards of 10 stories at one time, which has forced me to get really organized about my reporting/writing process. To-do lists and Excel spreadsheets have saved my life this semester.
Two other goals I set were to get on the front page of the paper, which hasn’t happened yet (but still could!!), and to master the art of the pitch, which I still feel like I’m a long way from doing.
I’m studying other reporters’ pitches, though, so I’m definitely getting better in this respect. I feel like pitching is part substance and part style, and mastering the combination takes awhile.
Most importantly, I feel like learning more about business reporting has been extremely helpful in my reporting at The Collegian, and something I hope will carry over to my new job in Lafayette.
Business reporting is all about impact on the taxpayers and the fiscal ramifications of news, so there are a whole new set of questions that need to be asked. I’m definitely still in the kiddie pool when it comes to understanding tax incentives, but what I’ve learned so far definitely has improved the thoroughness of every story that I work on.
Go journalism! Also, currently freaking out because I only have four more issues of The Collegian left to edit. Stay tuned for a teary Collegian memory blog post in four weeks, folks.
In student-newspaper land, I’ve basically seen and done it all. In my eight years as a student journalist/intern, I’ve been a staff writer, copy editor, assistant editor, features editor, news editor, managing editor and editor in chief.
Needless to say, with an already busy schedule, between the deadlines for my classes, my internship and the paper, keeping track of about 40 staff members, working on development projects for Butler’s j-school and maintaining a social life, it’s always hard to successfully keep each ball juggling in the air.
Since this is my final semester as a student journalist (and since The Collegian has nowhere to go except up), I’m finally learning how to streamline my responsibilities and increase the efficiency of my organization in order to train its new leaders by the time the last issue hits newsstands this spring.
Here are my goals:
- Devote time to training and other staff development
- Effectively communicate expectations (face-to-face when possible)
- Take the time to explain edits to writers and editors
- Delegate responsibilities
I realized recently that if I really want to increase efficiency, it has to start with my personal life.
Over the last month, I’ve basically done an overhaul of my life– throwing away anything and everything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful in order to decrease the clutter. I’ve gone through years of useless stuff, including clothes, notes and various other “memories” that probably meant a lot to me when I was 16 but are pointless now.
(Embarrassing fact: For someone who can quickly make order out of chaos in a news article, I’m surprisingly bad at it in real life. I had to force myself to get rid of a 500-page encyclopedia of Asian healing herbs that I will never, ever read. Also concerning about that scenario: Why did I buy that?)
The first step to accomplishing my list of goals was to meet this week with my two managing editors in order to start delegating some tasks (and plan a few goals for the paper’s coverage area). It was an incredibly productive meeting and I’m really glad that the three of us met early on in the semester to set personal goals for ourselves and each other.
As much as it kills me to say it, I’m going to take a step back from writing this semester to really focus on editing my reporters’ work in a more hands-on manner and doing more coaching, training and talent development on an individual basis.
OK , the no-writing rule probably is going to last about 30 seconds. I just thought of something I want to write for next week. (This is probably why delegating is important. I’m a work in progress.)
Next goal: continued formal writing/reporting/editing training. Experienced editors out there, what coaching techniques resonate with your younger reporters? I’m always up for hearing new ideas on this stuff.
On the subject of training, a fun side note: I’m SO EXCITED to road trip with my digital managing editor and news editor to the Computer Assisted Reporting Conference in St. Louis at the end of February! From what we’ve seen of the schedule and the speakers, it’s going to be EPIC!
Alright, signing off from nerdy journalist land. Until next time!
Where does the time go? To think that I have just one measly semester left of my career as an undergraduate and student journalist gives me chills!
While there is absolutely no excuse for not blogging during my first semester as editor in chief of The Butler Collegian, my new year’s resolution is to keep this blog updated about the trials and tribulations of my job (or at least the ones I can talk about).
The new year is the time to plan ahead, but it’s also a good time to reflect, so this post is dedicated to some valuable lessons I’ve learned during my time as a student journalist.
There is absolutely nothing like being in charge of a publication. It’s simultaneously insanely fun and insanely stressful. I don’t know how the Jill Abramsons or the John Smalleys or the Bob Cusacks do it!
I look up to these executive/managing editors more than I could ever express. Their grace in their leadership positions never ceases to amaze me and I can’t express the high degree of excitement that I have for learning from the editor at my first full-time job when I graduate.
I have a lot to learn, to be sure, but I’ve also realized how far I’ve come. Over the winter holiday break I’ve been able to spend a considerable chunk of time cleaning out my closet. And because I’ve been a journalism nerd for eight years now (wow), the sheer volume of student newspapers that I’ve paged through is pretty unspeakable.
The reactions have needless to say been a wide variety. Did I seriously think that was a cool design? What was I thinking writing that lede? How in God’s name is this a Page 1 story? I can’t believe we actually had the balls to write that. Aw, okay, that’s actually pretty well-written. This infographic is the sexiest thing I’ve ever laid eyes on.
The old articles and designs aren’t even close to the memories that these things brought back during my time as editor in chief of both my high school and college papers. Did I really make that leadership decision? Why couldn’t I delegate more? I should have focused more on copy editing. This writer improved SO MUCH over the course of one semester. Ahh, I remember that story…what a rush!
I showed some of the more rough stuff to my father who just laughed at me. He said that he drives by some of his old buildings and feels the same way. After some conversation and mild embarrassment about some of my old work, I realized that none of my old journalistic blunders matter in the way that I thought they would.
What really matters is that eight years later, I’m a completely different leader than I was. My love of writing morphed into a love for the reporting and research process. My wordiness channeled itself into a love of self-editing. My hotheaded sass has refined itself into levelheaded passion.
The mistakes matter too, but I’ve nurtured my passion with a commitment to improvement. In all of my endeavors, I’ve learned something about how to hone my craft and added another piece to the puzzle of being ready for a full-time job at a professional publication.
As a high school journalist, I knew that the dissemination of fair and accurate information to the public was important and that I wanted to play a role in it, but I didn’t know how to do it with any finesse.
As an early college journalist, I knew that content comes before design, but I couldn’t successfully navigate my way around an in-depth piece because I was too focused on coming up with the idea for the “greatest front page ever.” (Note: Compared to the absolutely STELLAR work by Jillian McCarter, I’ll save that title for her, because I never came close to the things she can do with an inDesign document and an hour or two.)
As an intern at The Hill, I knew that pushing sources beyond the official statement or “the line” was imperative in order to generate respect and create work that matters, but I stumbled orally around 50 tough questions before I could ask one that was direct with no quiver in my voice.
As an intern at the Wisconsin State Journal, I knew that display type was more important and carried more weight than I had ever been taught, but there were lots of times that I couldn’t get it exactly right until the third time my editor sent it back to me.
As the editor in chief of The Butler Collegian, I’ve spent my first semester putting all of those pieces together. Most of the time, it’s been successful. I am insanely proud of what we do. I am insanely proud of my staff members. They endure grueling hours, little pay, difficult sources, a university that (at times) underappreciates their work and, of course, my requests for rewrites upon rewrites and redesigns upon redesigns….and they LOVE every second of it.
There have also been challenges. It’s hard and more than a little tiring to lead a staff. There’s been a bad jumpline on Page 1, several corrections and a million ethical landmines. There are pieces of this puzzle that I don’t have yet because I’m still learning.
But that really doesn’t bother me. I find absolute joy in what I do. I am 100 percent committed to my work, my staff and the importance of this field. The best part about what I do is that there is always something new to learn and always a chance for innovation. The most important part is that I keep trying.
I hope everyone is having a joyous and peaceful 2012. I can’t wait for the semester to start back up again and to keep the updates going!
I recently heard something that any college-aged girl can relate to: Home is wherever you hang your heels up.
I’ve been thinking about that quote a lot, and consequently, about where I’ll plant my… heels… after graduating college, or if I’ll plant them at all.
Moving really is the only lifestyle I know right now. For the past three years, I have constantly been moving from place to place. I will have lived in Lake Zurich, Ill., four places in Indianapolis, Washington, D.C. and now Madison, all in a matter of mere years.
And then, who knows?
Right now, in between helping my mom and uncle with their websites and my unbelievable internship at the Wisconsin State Journal, this whole dilemma is consuming my thoughts! And, while I pride myself on being pretty organized with all of this, this girl can have some questions, like…
Which cities should I look into applying for jobs? Is it unrealistic to think that I could get a journo job in Chicago or DC? Do I need to start thinking about grad school?
The state of journalism is so uncertain right now that it seems completely naive to think that I’ll graduate from Butler University in May and land a full-time reporting or copy-editing gig at a newspaper near my family and friends right away.
And while it’s hard to feel “secure” (read: this week’s Gannett Co. layoffs), notice that I didn’t say the “fate” of journalism. News will always be a vital part of life, whether our generation wants it or not.
I will never doubt if my passion is still relevant. Oh, it’s relevant. We need good reporters now than we ever have before.
What I do doubt, though, is having a traditional career path.
I could very well graduate in May and find work at a newspaper across the country, and I’d take it, regardless of the location.
Journalism students nowadays can’t get picky. And I sure don’t plan to.
We have to be up for the challenge, creative and find a way to make ourselves attractive and irreplaceable to organizations with enough money to put those heels in our closets.
Just thought I’d share these thoughts, because I have a feeling that I’m not alone out there with soon-to-be or recent grads! That’s all for now– off to copy edit at the State Journal!
So, I just realized that 2011 is my seventh and final year as a student journalist. It’s been the most defining time period in my life, by far, but also the most challenging. I always tell people how lucky I am to be able to better myself in my craft before even having a college degree.
Journalism is amazing like that, because you don’t need to be a college graduate to be a journalist. This is different than most fields..I’m shuddering just thinking about my pre-med friend Zachary operating on me before he graduates medical school (no offense, dear!).
As a journalist, even though I have lots and lots of more learning to do before I become even close to being as good as the people in my field that I admire, I have still managed to do my job well on the high school and college level. I’ve been published. I’ve received praise and criticism. I’ve screwed up, printed corrections.. comforted writers when they’ve screwed up, printed corrections for them.
I’ve had lots of experience with scholastic journalism and can offer my writers sound advice when they encounter hiccups that reinforces the cardinal rules of all journos– remaining objective, being accurate and reporting fairly.
But there’s one problem that student journalists face every time they start a story for their high school or college newspaper. They’re not being objective.
Now, I’m not faulting the reporter. It’s through no fault of their own. All good baby journos know that they can’t interview their friends, cover events for activities they’re involved in. It’s nothing like that.
They’re not being objective because at the end of the day, the territory they’re covering is their school, their future alma mater, the place where their family pays thousands and thousands of dollars for them to attend each year.
At the time we were hired at the paper, we were already biased.
But dealing with this contradiction, as long as we’re aware of it, doesn’t mean we’re doomed! It just means that we have to be careful.
Last week at the paper, I was reminded of this plight. One of Butler’s senior starters on the men’s basketball team received a head contusion. We published a picture of bloody Matt Howard on the front page of the Sports section to go with the accompanying story, which was a report on how the Bulldogs won the game despite the injury, and how they were going to fare in future games if Howard was out for a few games.
One of the paper’s editors wrote his proposed headline for the story above the picture and copy: “A win at what cost?”
My first thought: I loved it. It totally resonated with the feelings of students and Howard’s fans. And at the paper, we are diehard Matt Howard fans.
But as one of the managing editors, I have to slow down that excitement and be the person who has some forethought before the paper goes to print.
So, I bit, grimacing at the reaction that I knew I was going to receive from the editor, but firm in my resolve nonetheless.
“We have to change the headline,” I said. “It’s biased.”
“It’s true, though,” the editor said. He really didn’t want the headline to be changed.
My heart agreed but my head screamed at me! Was I worried that Butler’s star player was going to be seriously hurt if he continued to play and that our team would suffer if he didn’t? Completely. As a student, I felt that inner struggle. A win at what cost, darnit!!
But my head said no.
“Okay,” said the editor. “But then you have to come up with something equally interesting.”
I suggested “A bang-up job” (which turned into “A bang-up win” after my boss, the EIC, edited it).
Overall, even though the editor wasn’t thrilled that I demanded the headline be changed, I think the staff and myself learned another valuable lesson about remaining neutral as student journalists.
We are allowed to care about what we’re reporting about. There’s no way around it. Just because of the very fact that our education is number one in importance and the fact that we have a vested interest in our school, it’s understandable that we care about the success of the basketball team and the health of its star player.
But you have to draw the line somewhere and keep those cardinal principles in mind when you’re at the paper. Eliminating clear bias that’s not 100% obvious in headline and article writing is an important part of that.
The other part? Think about what you learned in Ethics class before you send something to the printer or hit “publish” on your Web site’s admin end.
And for the record, for every biased creative headline, there’s always an objective one that’s just as witty.
The second half of my internship has been action-packed, to say the least. I have contributed to the reporting process of myriad articles that The Hill’s staffers have written, as well as had the opportunity to write my own. It’s been interesting to see the true process of article-writing. So often at the collegiate level we cover breaking news and campus events, but enterprising or investigative stories are harder to come by. That is not the case here. Each story is carefully researched and it is so exciting to me that I have played a part in it. There have been several times that my boss has asked me: “Do you think there’s a story here?” after I’ve done preliminary research. They really hold you responsible for knowing if something is newsworthy, which has been awesome.
A new skill that I’ve learned while working here is without a doubt being better able to press a source for a clear answer. Interviewing is such a tough skill to master and even though I’ve been doing it for a little more than seven years, there is always that split-second decision that you have to make while you’re having a conversation with a potential source. Do you push their answer with another question? Do you let it be and move on to the next question? What if they’re a member of Congress? What then? It’s easy to get intimidated. But I’ve definitely learned to “psych myself up” for these types of interviews.
At the beginning of the semester, I made two personal and two professional goals for myself. My personal goals were 1) to adapt more gracefully to stressful situations and 2) to sufficiently live alone as a quasi-adult. I think a good indication that I have become more graceful under stress is the fact that I can’t really remember any times throughout the semester that I have felt overwhelmed. I’ve been busy and not everything has gone off without a hitch, but the fact that I pulled through and haven’t overreacted about anything is a great sign! I think as you grow up, you learn to let problems roll off your shoulders. I’ve been told time and time again to “not sweat the small stuff” and I think I’ve finally found that balance. My other goal of living by myself has been pretty attainable as well. I’m responsible for getting up on time, sending in my absentee ballot or iron my clothes before work. So far, I haven’t received any complaints about wrinkles in my blazers, so I think I’m doing pretty well.
My professional goals were 1)to be given opportunities to contribute my writing to the newspaper’s print or online edition, which I have done, and 2) to put myself out there to full-time staffers. I have consistently been on top of completing assignments for staffers, which I think has made them see me as a relatively competent intern. Also, I received a compliment from one reporter about the quality of depth and breadth of my research for an article I helped him with.
By far, my biggest accomplishment while working at The Hill has been having the lead story on their website (insert beaming grin here). I wrote the story with a fellow intern, after tirelessly working off a list of more than 70 contacts that we polled and subsequently interviewed. You can read the story here.
Just being entrusted by my boss and managing editor of The Hill to write this story was the most exciting, and the fact that it was the featured article on the website as well as an ABC News blog’s “must-read” the next day were cherry-toppers on an already unforgettable sundae!
I’ve learned so much about journalism and political science this semester that I wish I had a full year here to truly soak everything in, but I have to say—I am getting so excited to return to Butler and apply all the knowledge I’ve gained in my “reporting public affairs” class as well as on the Collegian.
Thanks for reading, everyone! And thank you for your continued support in my journalistic ventures even when the going gets rough, whether it means offering advice and guidance, tolerating article-writing on Thanksgiving Day or Skyping for hours on end. I truly appreciate it all.
I’m not the type of person who stares at the calendar looking ahead, but I can’t help but feel like my time in Washington, D.C. is nearing an end. Actually, I know it’s nearing an end. I have one week of working at my internship before I go home for a week to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, and then, upon arriving back here, I have two weeks of work before I move out of my apartment. I thought I’d take this blog post to reminisce on some of my favorite memories of being in the district. I feel like I’ve seen and done every tourist attraction possible, but these haven’t necessarily been the things that I will remember most.
- Card nights with my five wonderful roommates have been some of the most funny experiences that we’ve had here. Plus, I’ve learned how to play two-hand Euchre, club Euchre and Oh hell. What’s funny is that I am notorious for not liking “games”… I don’t know why, I’ve just never been a fan. However, my college roommate introduced me to a few card games during one rainy afternoon last year and I got addicted! There is something so great about playing cards because there is a logical element to it. Also, it’s competitive without being overwhelming and a great “end of the day” relaxation activity. Another benefit is discovering how competitive your friends are!
- This past weekend was the definition of a “lazy DC weekend” and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Friday night was spent networking with other Butler University alums that I helped organize with the help of Butler’s alumni office. It was a great time had by all and there were plenty of interesting people to meet and talk to who were very interested in all of the current students’ internships. Saturday was spent lounging, buying advance Harry Potter tickets, sitting our favorite Woodley Park resto “Open City” for some cider and pie, seeing the movie “Fair Game” — a great political thriller that you should all go see– and going for late night falafel at Dupont Circle’s “Zorba’s.” Amazing falafel, great entertainment and hilarious company in my roommate Amanda and new friend Brian! Sometimes it’s just relaxing to spend time with people who you never stop laughing with!
- A few weeks ago, I got to see Madeleine Albright’s pin collection at a traveling installation at the Smithsonian castle. This collection holds a special place in my heart, partly because I had the chance to speak to Madame Secretaire about her collection (and some politics…) last Spring when she came to Butler. This has been one of my favorite experiences in my journalistic career thus far and it brought me back to that moment when I went to go see the collection. The pins are beautiful, they all have a story, and her taste is impeccable. There were a few that almost brought me to tears or sent a chill up my spine. Obviously, the pin of the shattered “glass ceiling” from Sec. of State Hillary Clinton is one of my favorites.
(Oh– reminds me! If you want to read one of my best friend’s takes on the future of women in the communications field and what it takes to shatter that glass ceiling, read her blog on Chicago Ad Gal Megan Lally’s blog!)… Alright, shameless plug for my friend over!
- I’ve always thought that best friends make the best experiences even more meaningful. This became even more apparent when Maggie and Zach, two people that I have been inseparable with for the past 11 years, came to spend the weekend in D.C. with me. I have never had so much fun. We had a weekend PACKED with tourist activities, but also spent a lot of quality time just being together, whether it was out on the town or relaxing in my apartment. A highlight was when I took the two of them to the Saudi Arabian embassy with my political science class and Zach dressed up like a Saudi man. Hilarious. And to think that these things all happened because my friends are so supportive of me that they would spend their time and money to visit me just made the whole trip more meaningful. I cannot thank them enough for a fabulous and unforgettable weekend.
- Attending a virtual Tweet-up to celebrate the Poynter Institute (a school that promotes excellence, integrity and practical leadership in journalism) through Meetup was one of the most techy-connecty things I’ve done in D.C. With the help of my social media guru and friend Meg Biallas (self-proclaimed Digital Disciple and blogger) I learned about Meetup, a new website that helps “groups of people with shared interests plan meetings and form offline clubs in local communities around the world.” Poynter advertised this event through Meetup, which was held in a private room during a D.C. tavern’s happy hour. Needless to say, it was interesting. We Skyped with other groups across the country who were having Poynter meetups, but more importantly, talked with fellow journalists about what’s new in their craft. As a student, I was the youngest journo there, and was able to learn a lot from a Maryland online reporter, Medill grad and bloggers from TBD. My only complaint was that I won’t be in the district longer to have more in-depth conversations with them– but I am following them on Twitter!
Alright, time to go! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these memories as much as I’ve enjoyed writing about them!
I will add more as they bounce into my head!
This semester, I’ve had my fair share of technology troubles. From the trials and tribulations of launching a new website (www.thebutlercollegian.com) on a brand new content management system (CMS), having to navigate getting out of incorrect airline tickets that I still swear I ordered right from a discount online travel site AND trying to upgrade my online portfolio—Geez. I’ve really been through it with technology the past few months.
Despite my frustrations, though, I continue to find inspiration (and fascination) with anything and everything that requires me to…err…click. Here are a few reasons why.
5. I collaborate via the “Screen Share” function on Skype: Even though I have a Mac and could just as easily use iChat to communicate with my colleagues and friends, Skype is my go-to choice (although there’s nothing wrong with iChat). For those that don’t know, the screen share function enables you to share a portion or your whole screen with the person you’re Skyping with. It’s mostly reliable and perfect for impromptu screen share sessions with my friends who are just as media-obsessed as I am. Whether I’m working on a new article or my AD/PR pals are asking for website/design advice, screen share has eased my anxiety many a deadline. Oh yeah—it also cures those “We’re on opposite sides of the country” blues for when we miss collaborating with each other in the flesh. Not that my friends and I spend our time working on journalism/advertising projects during school breaks…..
4. I’ve made friends with support forums: If there’s anything I’ve learned troubleshooting, it’s that there is always someone who knows how to answer your question (and usually someone who has wondered the same thing as you). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into a technical problem with a website or program and I’ve turned to online support forums to help. If you’re using a popular CMS, congratulations, help just got even easier. There are thousands (Okay, I don’t know the exact number) of forums/threads about manipulating WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. And I’ve never asked WordPress tech support a question that they didn’t respond to. High marks in my book.
3. I take freebies, and give credit where credit’s due: A simple Google search of “HTML freebies” generates more than 23 million results. WordPress users have made tons of free themes for other users to customize and make their own. Twitter and Facebook offer HTML freebies for your website and blog to beautifully display feeds from their site. Sites like Widgetbox.com allow you to create your own HTML widgets to give your site that extra interactive flair. I’ve gotten calendars, themes, fonts, lightboxes, photos, contact forms, graphics, social media buttons and probably anything I could ever dream of—for free. I don’t steal, don’t plagiarize and I don’t do anything sleazy. I just take advantage of what’s offered out there in the big, bad World Wide Web. It’s like those people who go coupon-crazy and end up paying $10 for $100 worth of groceries. Search, search, search.
2. I’ve adapted the viewpoint that social media can do some good (or at least make a huge impact): Nothing helps a cause go viral better than doing a little legwork on Twitter or Facebook. Unknown causes and events can go from 1 fan or attendee to 1,000 in a matter of minutes. Here’s a recent example. If you saw a sea of purple at school or work last week and had no idea why, let me clue you in. In light of the recent suicides by youngsters brought on by bullying (some of which were brought on by anti-gay sentiments), an idea to combat the hate originated and spread online. October 20, 2010 became Spirit Day, and supporters of the struggles that LGBT individuals go through made a statement by wearing purple. I would have had no idea about this if it wasn’t for the several Facebook invitations I received, my friends’ Twitter updates, or status updates on Facebook. It was a small token of support that allies of the LGBT community could contribute to show their sadness about the recent suicides as well as their spirit. I asked one of my LGBT friends about why purple was the chosen color—it represents “spirit” on the rainbow flag.
1. I’m smarter than I was before: Technology makes you smarter and I will stand by that statement. Information is available about anything and everything you could ever want to know—and it’s just a click away. You just have to be smart about whose word you take. There’s an old journalism adage that goes: “If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.” It means: don’t just take what one person says as fact, even if they’re seemingly the most trustworthy person you know. Obviously I love my mother, and that isn’t the point, but that puts it into perspective for you. Don’t just go to one website for your news. Don’t just believe what one of your twitter followers RT’s at you. Thankfully, there’s enough info out there for you to have at least a couple places to double check.
ABOVE: At the Newseum in front of a real portion of the Berlin Wall!
This past weekend I visited the Newseum in downtown D.C. This is something that I have been looking forward to since I first found out that I was accepted into the D.C. program. My high school newspaper adviser and mentor Carolyn Wagner visited the Newseum when she took her students to a national student journalism conference last year, and has raved about it since her return!
Since then, I have been dying to go. Wagner had mentioned to me that spending only one afternoon or morning at the Newseum was not going to be enough, so I wanted to make sure that I went on a day with ample hours to really take my time.
ABOVE: Me in front of the real Tinker armbands! Wags knows how much this means to me!
Since it was Butler U’s fall break this past weekend, a lot of my roommates and friends had guests staying here. Two of my best friends are coming up in November, so I was one of the only people without guests. Since I have been attached at the hip with my roommates in all of my sightseeing so far, I thought it was extremely important that I go experience the Newseum by myself.
It was the thing that I was looking forward to most in D.C., so it just made sense to make an independent-woman-in-D.C-weekend out of it and really take full advantage of all my dear friends being occupied with their guests.
This was by far the best decision I could have ever made. I ended up going to the Newseum two days in a row and spending HOURS there. There are six floors (and a basement level) to the Newseum. To give you some insight as to how much time I was taking, by the close of the museum on Day 1 of my weekend, I only made it to the third floor… Yes, if any of my friends were there with me, they would have given up and left me anyways!
ABOVE: Me on the top floor of the Newseum! Amazing view of my favorite sight in the city!
The Newseum had several interesting, fun and even interactive exhibits, but one particular exhibit really stuck out to me. The Covering Katrina exhibit was out of this world.
Hurricane Katrina is one of the most interesting and heartbreaking natural disasters in our country’s history and certainly one of the deadliest (I think it’s #3) with more than 1,800 American deaths. Thousands more were displaced. Millions were affected. Yes, even all of us in Northern Illinois. Remember the gas prices that year? This exhibit was awesome because of the sheer magnitude of journalistic artifacts that they had from the wreckage as well as the in-depth look at the role that journalists played during this tragedy. Here is a clip that I saw in a video montage there that really stuck with me.
There were many more clips like this one, from journalists that I already admire, and to see them acting so courageously brought a few tears to my eyes. I really think that during this crisis, the journalists acted as true heroes and really shed the most light on the problems associated with the relief effort in the days following Katrina’s wake.
Also, there was a wall of the exhibit that had the front pages of newspapers that showed the timeline of the hurricane and its devastation. I was engrossed in reading the stories and seeing the unbelievable images, only partly paying attention to which newspaper was publishing which article. All of the sudden, I saw a word from another article on one of the pages I was reading pop out to me. The word: Kildeer.
My short little self immediately glanced up to the top of the broadsheet page, and low and behold, there was The Daily Herald’s masthead. Wow! It was such a cool experience that my hometown newspaper was one of the newspapers from the entire country that was chosen in this exhibit to show the emotional toll that this hurricane took on our country.
After finishing the Newseum on the second day, I went to the National Portrait Gallery. I’ve heard it’s one of the best Smithsonian exams. Going there by myself was slightly eerie because a lot of the museum was empty and it was a weird time to go. Honestly, it was so much fun. It was like I was discovering an entire museum by myself. I know that sounds laughable but it was like I was solving a mystery, exploring the museum on my own terms.
My favorite part of the entire museum was a special collection they had installed of Norman Rockwell paintings from the collections of both Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. This was my favorite one. It really spoke to me. The expression on the little girl just kills me. So cute. It’s like you just want to tell her to hold on and wait.
ABOVE: Little Girl Observing Lovers on the Train – Norman Rockwell – 1944
All in all, this weekend was a supreme success and my work week has flown by! It’s getting closer and closer to the election and I just can’t get enough of all the excitement and nervousness around this city– it’s addicting!
ABOVE: Me in front of Bobby Kennedy’s gravesite and memorial at the Arlington National Cemetery. RFK is one of my favorite politicians to study so visiting his gravesite and paying my respects was unforgettable.
My experiences at The Hill have been invaluable to my college learning experience thus far. It has honestly taught me so much about the workings of a newspaper, from reinforcing the importance of accuracy to just getting an inside look at the production aspect of the publication (which is fascinating to me).
My main responsibility is updating and editing The Hill’s Congress Blog which you can read here. The Congress Blog is a hub for senators, representatives, organization leaders and academics to contribute editorials about important or newsworthy issues that they have strong opinions on.
I feel like I am learning something new every day from the amount of information I read, edit, and proof every day. The blog covers myriad issues and events so just reading that in itself is a great way to ingest the news every day.
Interns also help with different assignments that editors and reporters are working on. It’s fun be a part of the beginning steps of the paper. For instance, today I was on the phone with former governors and congress people asking them about their opinions on an issue my editor is researching. Yesterday, I was doing background research for another editor there. Next week, I’m doing a restaurant review of a sushi restaurant downtown.
One of the most important parts of my job is being informed about current events. Another intern and I were talking about how amazing we think journalism is just because you get to know about so many topics and issues that you otherwise wouldn’t have had a reason to know about– just because you simply need to know what’s going on to be prepared to do background research or interview someone.
From this moment on, I really don’t know what I would do without knowing current events. If I go one day without reading the entire News Pulse on CNN, I feel cut off from the world. I always thought I was pretty informed before this internship, but this is a whole new level for me and I can’t picture myself ever going back. I just feel like I know more. It sounds simple but it has opened my mind so much.
We’re in the midst of everything in this city. All the issues that matter to me in the Midwest are actually decided here, and the best part is that I get to be a part of them in a unique and distinct way.
For instance, I was actually at the U.S. Capitol, standing outside the Senate Chamber with the rest of the journalists, when the Senate voted on the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill (better known to everyone as the potential repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell). I still can’t believe I was that close to history in action, interviewing Senators next to people from just about every news organization that you’ve ever heard of.
As journalists, we are responsible for the issues and the events in that we are trusted with informing the rest of America (and the world) about them. Hopefully we do this in the most objective way possible, but that is the unique challenge of journalism. Objectivity, fairness and accuracy are the most important parts of our job, but as humans, it’s impossible to be 100 percent objective. I strive with all my might to uphold these standards. I know I am still learning, too, but even as a student journalist, upholding these three values are extremely important.
Student journalists have the unique treat and responsibility that we get to practice our trade before graduating. And now, with the influx of social media and its gained importance and presence in our lives, the average person can practice citizen journalism. So these three standards have become even more important.
Working at The Hill has renewed my love for journalism. I honestly can’t say where my career will take me, but I do know that for the rest of my life, I will look for objectivity in the news I consume and do my best to uphold these values in all aspects of my life.
A few weekends ago, my friends Katie, Christy, Amanda and I flew to Boston on part two of our East Coast adventure! My roommate had a friend in Boston that we could stay with, Boston is one of my favorite cities and tickets from Hotwire are unreal amounts of cheap, so it seemed like the perfect travel plans!
We had an amazing time in Boston. The history is amazing, the architecture is great, the food is “to die for” and the Metro transit system is amazing!
We did so many things on our weekend trip there that I was honestly surprised that we were still functioning by the end of it! We really packed everything in during such a short span of time!
Something that I would recommend to anyone traveling to Boston is making sure to walk through the entire Freedom Trail. The Freedom trail (http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/) is a historical trail that tourists can take to see all the historic sites that were important leading up to (and throughout) the American Revolution. During my last trip to Boston, I visited most of these sites, but since I was there the last time more than seven years ago, I obviously welcomed the refresher.
Here is a brief description of the trail from the official website.
“The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile red-brick walking trail that leads you to 16 nationally significant historic sites, every one an authentic American treasure. Preserved and dedicated by the citizens of Boston in 1958, when the wrecking ball threatened, the Freedom Trail today is a unique collection of museums, churches, meeting houses, burying grounds, parks, a ship, and historic markers that tell the story of the American Revolution and beyond.”
We tried to take pictures along most of the 16 sites! Below are the photos with captions! I think I only missed one or two!
ABOVE: The Boston Common: The girls and I at the Boston Common, a beautiful park. This is where the tour started and it was easily accessible to the Metro.
ABOVE: The State House: View from the Boston Common to The State House.
ABOVE: Park Street Church: This isn’t technically the church, but it is the nearest picture to it that I have from this trip. We tried to walk in and got in trouble because pre-school was going on…haha!
ABOVE: Granary Burying Ground: The first picture is Christy, Amanda and I in front of Mr. and Ms. Franklin’s Graves (Ben’s Parents). We all kind of passed it and didn’t care at first, and then finally realized the significance they had! Sorry Franklins! The second picture is me in front of Sam Adams’ grave!!
ABOVE: King’s Chapel: The first is the view from the back of the church aisle. The second is the view of the original prayer books/bibles from a pew.
King’s Chapel Burying Ground: Didn’t take a picture of this! I wasn’t particularly enthralled for some reason I guess!
ABOVE: Benjamin Franklin Statue/Boston Latin School: The first picture is me in front of the Ben Franklin Statue, and the rest are us in the Boston Latin School courtyard. FYI: There is a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse there now, ha..
Old Corner Book Store: The Old Corner Book Store is now not a bookstore We went there for about thirty seconds and were a little disappointed.
ABOVE: Old South Meeting House: Inside and outside.
ABOVE: Old State House: Front door and outside.
Site of the Boston Massacre: No pictures, it is only marked by something small.
ABOVE: Faneuil Hall: Inside.
ABOVE: Paul Revere House: Outside.
The Old North Church: No pictures, the lighting was horrible and I couldn’t get anything worthwhile!
Copp’s Hill Burying Ground: No pictures.
ABOVE: Bunker Hill Monument: Funny, this looks exactly like the Washington Monument!
ABOVE: USS Constitution: Katie tried to stand and get a picture of the ship from a higher view because there was a fence in front of it and got yelled at by the guards. I happened to get the perfect picture! Such a funny moment!
During our first full day in Boston, we started off walking the entire Freedom Trail, then ended up going to Mike’s Pastries for cannoli and to the Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park. I have only been to Fenway Park one other time in my life and that didn’t even involve a baseball game! Since my immediate family is from the North side of the Chicago suburbs, we are avid Chicago Cubs fans (no matter how saddening it always is). Being a Cubs fan is extremely important to me just because it gives me great memories of going to the Beanie Baby days with my parents when I was little and watching the games with my dad.
I think there are a lot of Cubs fans who also love the Boston Red Sox. I don’t really know what the connection is, but it probably has something to do with how loyal the fans are. Loyal fans appreciate loyal fans, especially when it may not always be easy to be loyal when your team doesn’t constantly (or ever…) win the World Series!
Anyways, I had a great time at the game and enjoyed just being in the park at the very least!
We took a crowded Metro back to where we stayed for the weekend at one of my roommate’s friend’s house in the Boston College neighborhood and immediately fell asleep when we arrived! It was a full day!
The next day we slept in and got up in time to leave for lunch. We visited my favorite restaurant in Boston, Durgin Park, which is right by a bunch of historic landmarks! I have fantasized about that cornbread for seven years, and it was just as unbelievable as I remembered! I got the Pot Roast as my entree which made me think about why I don’t make Pot Roast more. Sure it takes some effort, but it’s always worth it!
The next day we went to Harvard College in Cambridge, Mass. Honestly, it was such a great experience. There is something so relaxed about the Harvard campus that I really didn’t expect. Not that I expected it to be stuffy or overbearing on the opposite side of things, I just didn’t expect it to be so cool! I could totally picture any of my friends who were thinking about law school or graduate school to look into it! What an awesome place and I’m sure I didn’t even see the half of it!
The whole experience just reminded me of the television show Gilmore Girls (even though Rory’s character ended up attending Yale). I never had visited Harvard or had much interest in it but just being in that atmosphere just made me gawk at the beauty of such an old, traditional and historic campus!
After Harvard, we went to the Cheers bar set in the Beacon Hill neighborhood. It was so cool and such a fun place to visit, even if it was only for a photo op! The area of Beacon Hill is beautiful and was totally worth the visit.
We finished the trip up by going to a get together my roommate’s friend wanted to bring us to at night with his friends from school. Even though Amanda, Christy and I didn’t know anyone that went there, it will still a good experience to see how the Boston College campus looked.
And, of course, in the company of friends, hilarity always ensues over something or other!
Thanks for reading, friends!
There is honestly nothing that I have done so far during my short stint as a D.C. inhabitant that has been more memorable to me than my trip to see the monuments at night (besides my short “vacation” here with my family of course).
If anyone reading this ever visits Washington from now until eternity, this is such a timeless, astonishing, and inspiring thing to do that literally any American can appreciate.
Around 10 p.m., a group of five of us girls from Butler departed from the 5th floor of 2807 Connecticut Ave NW and ventured by foot and by Metro to take a tour of the D.C. monuments. Here is a picture of us before leaving:
ABOVE: Girls before leaving for the nighttime monument tour. From left: Christy, Amanda, Hayleigh, Katie, Olivia.
The tour started with the Washington Monument. My family and I didn’t really spend much time at this monument, only bothering to take a few pictures in front of it. Honestly, the reason why is because I really just don’t find it that exciting during the day. I’ve never really felt a connection to it, for whatever reason. Wow, did this monument trip change that.
The nighttime air was crisp, it was uncharacteristically windy, and the sky was beyond clear. Walking up to the monument, I just felt this rush of unbelievable awe come over me and all of the sudden I realized it: I was smack dab in the middle of our nation’s capital, and I got to stay there for however long I wanted to.
No matter how many pictures I took of this experience, none could fully convey how beautiful it was. Even after 10 pm, there were still plenty of people there, laying on the benches that were below the circle of crisp, red, glowing American flags that were blowing wildly in the wind and staring up at the proud and tall Washington Monument, one of the city’s most well-known symbols.
Because none of the pictures were turning out quite as I wanted them, I decided to videotape the experience. Below is a video of us at the Washington Monument followed with some photos. It was really windy like I said, so I apologize about any wind sounds coming through your computer speakers!
The rest of our stops went in the following order: (First, The Washington Memorial), The Lincoln Memorial, the WW2 Memorial, the Vietnam War memorial, the Korean War memorial, the FDR memorial, and the Jefferson memorial.
My favorite out of all of them was probably the Washington Memorial just because I have such vivid video to remember it by and because it was the first one that I saw at night, but it would definitely be followed closely by the Lincoln Memorial (obviously), the FDR memorial, and the WW2 memorial. Ahh– Also the Jefferson memorial! As you can see, they all really did leave a lasting impression.
The most emotional of the monuments was definitely the Vietnam War memorial because of its solemnness. There is just something about the WW2 memorial that is glorious and hopeful, likely because the Allies won the war, that the Vietnam War memorial doesn’t exist. It’s solemn, it’s somber. There is too much loss to even think about. We mostly didn’t speak during that part of the tour, just ran our fingers quietly along the engravings of the seemingly endless rows of the names of men and women that America lost during that time.
To move along to a more uplifting note, the Jefferson memorial was beautiful and extremely uplifting! It was a trek to get to unlike the others that are for the most part clustered somewhat together. My Foreign Policy professor told our class that the Jefferson Memorial was designed so that the White House would have an unobstructed view of it from one of the windows so as to inspire future presidents to the great presidents of America’s past. He also joked (for the Jefferson non-enthusiasts) that if you hated Jefferson, you could just look out the window and be inspired by what not to do! Either way, it works! And it’s definitely cool that the White House has an unobstructed view of it considering it REALLY is pretty far away.
Personally, I really like Jefferson as a president, mostly because he is very quotable, and because in middle school, everyone picked their favorite presidents, and I haphazardly and arbitrarily decided mine was going to be Jefferson, so I feel like I still have to hold true! (Much like me deciding at an early age to myself that my favorite number was going to be 19 because it’s the date that my sister was born in February…Oh, the arbitrary random decisions children make for no reason!)
Anyways, because of my fondness for Jefferson, when I entered into the white, circular, open-air monument with a massive statue of Jefferson in the middle, I immediately read the Jefferson quotes that were inscribed on the wall since I ended up loving the ones at the Lincoln memorial so much!
I love this quote from Jefferson, that was on one of the monument walls facing South. Jefferson is standing in front of it so you have to walk around to the back of the monument to see.
Here it is:
“I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.” -Thomas Jefferson
As a journo, I don’t like to display my political bias, but I don’t really think this quote can really peg me as a supporter of any one political party, rather, it shows my love for progress, the Constitution, our founding fathers, and the history behind the story of this country which most if not all Americans share with me!
Here are some more pictures from the tour:
ABOVE: The Lincoln Memorial at night. Look at Honest Abe just hanging out in the middle! Imagine how huge that statue is and how minuscule compared to the rest of the monument! Perspective if I’ve ever seen it!
ABOVE: A picture I captured from the other side of the Jefferson Monument of the girls sitting on a bench while I was reading the quotes. Look how tiny they are in comparison to the rest of the monument!! It amazes me!
I hope you enjoyed the video and pictures! Now it’s time to get off to bed so that I have energy tomorrow morning!
ABOVE: The Butler Collegian’s beautiful new computers– how I miss them!
I’m sorry I haven’t blogged in the past two weeks! Every day, I always jot something down that I would like to blog about, and then once I get home I can never find the time.
In my last entry, I spoke about an exciting development in my future that I was looking forward to but I couldn’t speak of just yet. Well, after two weeks of extremely grueling, detail-oriented work, I can proudly say that the online version of The Butler Collegian is finally in its final stages of completion! Whew! I wasn’t entirely sure that the site would be ready when I last posted so I didn’t want to prematurely start publicizing the new site.
That actually turned out to be a good decision, because there have been a few bumps and bruises along the way and back on the 9th, it was nowhere near where it is today.
I would like to take a moment to thank the people who were most instrumental in helping make the site happen. First and foremost, Dr. Nancy Whitmore, director of the Eugene S. Pulliam School of Journalism at Butler University, has been such a helpful, efficient, and eager leader of this whole project and it frankly would not have been possible without her help and openness to staff’s desire to upgrade our site.
I would also like to thank Arika Herron, the current editor-in-chief of The Butler Collegian, for being a sounding board and great partner for me within each and every stage of the site’s development, on top of being in charge of the editorial and content sides of the newspaper.
The Collegian has come such a long way in the past year, and I look forward to continuing to grow as a staff and a newspaper. I think we keep proving to people that we may be small, but we are mighty. The 14 awards we won in 2009 from the Indiana Collegiate Press Association are a marker of that.
In any case, I am extremely proud of the website we helped build, and looking forward to many more upgrades in the coming year.
New definition of happiness: when your work phone rings and the Caller-ID says “US CAPITOL”
Before this semester, I had considered starting and keeping up with a blog for more than a year, but I always got sidetracked or discouraged. Thoughts like “What do I really have to say?” and “My life isn’t that interesting” popped up in my head whenever the urge to blog would come up. So, it should come as no surprise that while I so looked forward to my Washington, D.C. semester because of the internship experience, experiences of being in a new city, and discovering the history of this country, one of the other things that excited me most was this one thought: I finally have something worthwhile to blog about!
Even though my family and friends would pat me on the back and say “Oh Hayleigh, you’re so interesting, regardless of D.C.,” there is something about being in this city that just makes me feel truly lucky and interesting—and that makes me want to write, write, write EVERYTHING I’m thinking or feeling down.
I would like to dedicate this post to the things that I’ve learned or noticed about this city– even in my short time of being here! Even if they might seem obvious to the common person, I don’t want to leave out anything because I feel like there is so much that is unique about this city that goes BEYOND just traveling to a new place.
For example, of course there are differences between Indianapolis and Chicago that I have noticed, but the culture is generally pretty similar. However, I have a biased view because it’s not like I live in the downtown area of Chicago and I DO live in the metropolitan area of Indy.
Regardless of all this, D.C. is a world away from Chicago OR Indy and here is what I’ve learned so far that other current or future D.C. interns should know.
1) Metro etiquette is the most hardcore, unspoken system, EVER. And everyone knows it. I don’t know how long it’s been like this, but there is such an etiquette and certain way to ride the Metro here in D.C. I’m sure it’s something that D.C. interns learn quickly, and I’m sure it is glaringly obvious to notice who lived in the district permanently versus who is here for a short time just by the way they act on the Metro.
The two main rules I’ve noticed? The left side of all Metro escalators is for WALKING traffic, not standing as the escalator goes up or down. That is the right side. Do NOT mix up the two, otherwise you will screw up the entire system and–especially in the morning– people will be MAD.
The second rule is that you absolutely, positively have to GET OUT OF THE WAY when the Metro doors open to let anyone coming out come out. Those doors have like a 5-second rebound rate and then they close. If you’re blocking the door, people aren’t going to be able to get in or out as fast as they need to and the door WILL close on them.
2) Attention plastic-lovers…Have plastic AND cash on you at all times. The worst thing is when you’re trying to go somewhere, you’ve already walked the distance from your apartment to the closest Metro, you go downstairs to buy a ticket, and the credit card function (or cash function) isn’t working. You’re out of luck and will have to walk back up the escalator. For anyone that gets on or off at Woodley Park Zoo/Adams Morgan like I do, you know what I’m talking about it. According to my Foreign Policy professor, we live by the steepest entrance to any metro stop in D.C. You don’t want to have to do that more than once.
SmartGirl trick- In order to avoid ATM fees if you don’t bank in the area, I get “cash back” whenever I pay with my Debit card at CVS or the grocery. ATM fees add up!
3) Grocery shopping for ONE is a TWO person job. Pick your grocery buddy immediately. Mine is my apartment-mate Amanda. Grocery shopping is tricky in the city. I don’t have a little black wire rolling cart that all cute, city girls should have because I’m only technically a city girl for a semester, so I have resorted to carrying my grocery bags with my own two hands and the help of Amanda (and a very large, durable Kenneth Cole duffle-like purse). I know, I know–back to the dark ages! Just kidding.
But I don’t think anyone could argue with the fact that when your nearest grocery store is more than 10 city blocks away and you live on the fifth floor of your apartment building, you get tired slightly faster than the short walk from your car to your house.
SmartGirl trick- After a long, tiring day at the office or sightseeing, grocery buddies can always be bribed with always-on-sale mini Haagen-Dazs or Ben&Jerry’s ice cream cups in the freezer section. They are usually a buck each and a worthwhile reason to make the trek!
4) As a DC intern, there’s always an eye and an ear on you. You know that rude, petty, or gossipy conversation you had with your friend on the Metro on the way to the office this morning? Well, just take one visit to the popular DC Interns blog and I bet you will think twice before having that conversation. Metros are close quarters, people can hear you, and believe it or not, what you say in what you see as a danger-free zone actually could have an effect on the relationships you build with your intern peers, coworkers, or supervisors and actually does have an effect on the way interns are viewed in the district. Remember, you are in a city surrounded by people whose jobs are more related to yours than you would think– they basically ALL are in some way related to the U.S. government or something to do with politics. It’s a huge city, but it sure is easy to find someone with something in common here. Use it to your advantage by being a smart, professional intern, NOT a sloppy one.
That’s all for now, folks. As the semester goes on, I will revisit this post and perhaps write more intern/DC newbie advice that I have picked up along the way.
I potentially have an exciting night ahead of me– I won’t lay out here what it is in case it doesn’t happen, but let’s just say it involves me and my favorite thing to do EVER- JOURNALISM WORK!
I’ll explain tomorrow or the next day if my plans ended up happening– and why I couldn’t share more fully now!
Have a great night!
I have been living in D.C. for just about a week now and I love it so much! In the past week, so much has changed—I’ve started living in a new apartment, started my reporting internship at The Hill newspaper, and made great new friends!
The five other ladies I am living with are fabulous and we have had so much fun romping around in our new space and in our new little homey neighborhood! Today, since it is a Friday and we don’t have to go to our internships, Katie, Amanda and I went to the International Spy Museum and explored China Town a little and ate some great Chinese food at Ming’s Restaurant. Supposedly it’s one of the nation’s 100 best Chinese food places so we walked in, but then we saw the same sign on a few other places….so we think that was a lie. But it was good!
Yesterday night we went to see Eat Pray Love (time #2 for me!) in Friendship Heights, which is a cute area near Adams Morgan with a mall and lots of familiar box clothing stores and chain restaurants.
Our plans for tonight are visiting all the monuments at night (WW2, Vietnam War, Lincoln, Washington) because Katie says they are at their most beautiful at night! I can’t wait to see them!
OK, so here are a few photos of my apartment that I promised I would put up. It’s the cutest thing.
My internship has been going smoother and smoother every day that I’m there. On day 1 (which was Tuesday), I was seriously overwhelmed! Anyone that talked to me on Tuesday knows that I was seriously anxiety-ridden. For example, I made Katie walk to the Metro with me about 40 minutes before I even had to get there, and the place is only two stops away! She was laughing because I was truly just so excited and nervous to start.
Basically, the point of my job at The Hill is to post and edit blogs from Congress members and other influential individuals and post them on The Hill’s website on the Congress Blog. Getting the hang of it has been kind of tricky, but it does get easier and easier every day.
Ok, today seriously tired me, not to mention the unbelievably tiring week, so I’m signing out to go take a nap!
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Today I moved into my new apartment on Connecticut Avenue NW in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of D.C.
My apartment building has a brick exterior with a black, white, and gold metal awning above the front door. The lobby has checkered black and white tile with a dark wood trim and front desk area.
Basically, it’s my dream apartment.
Down the street from several quaint, ethnic restaurants and other shops and services, it is such a convenient and picturesque place to live.
I am sharing the apartment with five other Butler University students who all have internships in the D.C. area. We all have completely different internships and obviously all had to go about getting them ourselves based on what our majors and interests were.
The apartment has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, and a large living room, meaning two girls are assigned to each room, and three to each bathroom.
My roommate’s name is Katie (one of my journalism friends from school). Her internship is at C-SPAN. Katie and I met the first day of freshman year at Butler because we were in the same orientation group and immediately bonded over our majors, love of politics, shopping, our Catholic faith, and the fact that we hate all the same people! Just kidding, we just have a lot in common.
Today was filled with unpacking, unpacking and more unpacking. Miraculously, everything fits.
The only problem that we ran across was when we realized that we have extremely limited storage in the kitchen. Basically, there is no space for any food because the pots, pans and other cooking accoutrements take up all the cabinet and drawer space.
Clearly, that was going to be a problem.
Well, we had some great luck. Driving back from going to Safeway for some last minute necessities (I obviously forget shampoo) and groceries, we got turned around on a one-way street near my apartment building and my mom happened to spot two loose-leaf pieces of paper that read “FREE STUFF” on a porch of some random house.
If you know my mom, you know that avoiding a stop at the “FREE STUFF” house was not even remotely an option. She LOVES it! Even if there was nothing worth it there, she would just be interested in what the people didn’t want and would probably talk about what they should have had, what they could have tossed, what nobody would take, etc. That is one of my favorite things about my mom. She is just interested in random stuff like that.
Anyways, they had a perfect grocery-shelving unit for our apartment that we quickly disassembled and put into our Explorer.
It’s relatively small so it’s not an ugly monstrosity in the room and it is great for housing everyone’s stuff and keeping our individual groceries organized.
We got most everything in the apartment done today, so tomorrow we just have to make one more run to a Target to pick up those amazing Command Strips to hang a few photo boards, my white board calendar, and my turquoise Andy Warhol.
Tonight is my last night sleeping in the hotel before I embark on a new semester living in a wonderful new apartment in Adams Morgan.
I doubt I’ll be able to catch many ZZzzz’s because of the excitement, but I gotta get some shuteye before spending the day with my family before they leave on Monday morning.
On our list: DC Cupcakes, Woodley Zoo (not Kara Woodlief’s Zoo as my Dad keeps saying), finishing moving me in to the apt, and church tomorrow morning at the D.C. National Cathedral!!!
The only word I have to begin this post is just WOW—I have never been so “in awe” of any location in my life. I can’t even begin to describe how much I love this city—and I’ve only been here for two days.
The fact that I have an entire semester to bathe in this city’s glory is literally so exciting to me and I am almost positive that I will never want to leave!
I’ve been to beautiful cities before and I tend to gravitate towards and appreciate urban environments, but I think what makes D.C. so special is the fact that down every street is a little part of this country’s history which makes everything you do mean that much more.
It’s like appreciating how amazing this country is every time you go out to dinner, go to the movies, go grocery shopping, get your nails done, run errands—the list is endless. There is legitimately something historical or an interesting fact about everything you could possibly do here.
A perfect example of that was my family’s visit to Ford’s Theater (the place were Honest Abe was assassinated in 1865). After having lunch downtown on Friday, we decided to take a walk in the area because we had heard that the theater was close. After a few blocks, we finally see it and are blown away because it’s exactly how one would picture Ford’s Theater (and I mean exactly)—just another aged brick façade on a city block with an old-fashioned vertical sign facing the street.
There is a modern little visitor’s center attached to the theater so we go in and get tickets to go look inside (it’s free—as basically ALL of the museums I’ve been to so far are which is a huge plus otherwise Mike would be BROKE!).
No joke, everyone that got tickets to the 2:30 showing of the theater is sitting in the seats inside this small, beautiful theater.
At this point, I’m freaking out. I am actually SITTING in the seats that Washingtonians were sitting in the NIGHT and TIME and PLACE of Abe Lincoln’s assassination. COOL. (Keep in mind, the theater has been renovated over the years and at this point is restored to be historically accurate with how the theater looked the night of Lincoln’s death—SPOOKY!)
I had chills within one instant of being in the room.
Then, a cute park ranger-type girl comes up on the stage, goes through a dramatic play-by-play of the whole affair, and twenty minutes later when she’s finishing up, she goes on to say that the theater is a full-functioning, plain ole’ theater with shows and troupes and everything a plain ole’ theater would have regularly.
WHAT!?!? I almost died. People perform here. People see shows here. It’s just regular.
To me, that is just a perfect example of the magic of the district. Everything you can do is so culturally and historically rich; it’s unbelievable.
Since I’ve only been here a few short days and have already seen so much, here is a list (and most likely a photo) of all the things my family and I have packed in so I don’t forget:
- American Indian,
- American History,
- Natural History
- Melissa Bean’s Office/CVC Underground Walk
- Lunch at Ollie’s Trolley diner downtown
- House where Lincoln died (across from Ford’s Theater)
- Dinner in China Town
I think my favorite thing so far has been visiting the Lincoln Memorial. I don’t know why I’m Lincoln-obsessed right now with talking about Ford’s Theater and now this, but I think the history is unbelievable.
From a very young age, my favorite thing to learn about at school was always the Civil War. In elementary school, I did any and all research I possibly could on Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, and when I got older I was intrigued by the period of reconstruction after the Civil War. So I guess it makes sense, but it really just hit me with a ton of bricks.
First of all, walking up to the memorial itself is beautiful. If you’re standing at the bottom, you can turn one way and see the beauty of the Washington Monument and the famous reflecting pool and turn the other way and see the biggest, tallest, most beautiful beige marble monument atop a tall hill with twenty or so stairs leading up to it.
Once you enter the monument, the humongous white statue of Lincoln in all his glory is placed in the center. That itself could take anyone’s breath away.
Located on either side—carved into the left and right walls of the memorial—are the Gettysburg Address and Lincoln’s entire second Inaugural Address.
Even though I love the Gettysburg Address (as do most people), I kind of skimmed over the words with a “been there, done that, been there again, did it again” attitude and focused more on taking pictures.
When I got over to the other side, however, I stopped and read his second Inaugural Address word for word. Wow. First of all, it’s incredible how well-spoken this man was considering he grew up Indiana/Illinois aka Farmville. Second of all, the magnitude of what he was saying in that speech really stuck with me and was truly an emotional experience.
“Both parties deprecated war but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive and the other would accept war rather than let it perish.”
This quote from the address really stuck out to me—basically he’s explaining the attitudes/motives that the Confederacy and the Union had about entering the war in the first place, something I’ve never really thought about (probably just because it’s just not that practical to get across to high-schoolers that entire sides of a war have “feelings” too).
Read that quote again and just soak in what that means. If that’s not a testament to Lincoln (and the Union)’s love and devotion to a new country that was still an experiment, not even fifty years past the War of 1812 and Britain’s attempt to destroy our Capital city, I don’t know what is.
At their purest form, those words embody commitment to democracy and love of the freedoms that this nation strived to create after religious and political persecution in Europe.
Needless to say, that is just inspiring and truly made me feel like my life’s direction and vocation in life was worth something (and worth protecting!). It just made me want to call up Francis Scott Key and write a song about the First Amendment!
By the way, here is a picture of me in front of the Newseum with the wonderful words of the First Amendment carved into its foundation. What a beautiful sight. I’m sure by the time I leave here I will have gone to the Newseum 230483 times and taken 230493 pictures in front of it. Here are two from the first batch.
However, I won’t take up this post with how much I love and appreciate the freedoms that our founding fathers granted to us in the First Amendment…that would literally take at least another entire 500 words of text…
To sum up, God Bless America and God bless the fact that you don’t have to believe in God to be an American. It’s unbelievable and this city is a testament to that.
Goodnight world, tomorrow I’m moving into my new apartment!!
After two days of intense packing and preparing time to get ready for my move to D.C., my parents, my sister Caitlin and I embarked on the 12.5-hour (14 hours with stops) drive.
We are currently in our last hour and a half before we reach the Marriott hotel we are staying at in Greenbelt, Maryland.
The drive has been long but enjoyable and we have driven through Illinois (obviously), Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania to get where we are now in Nowwheresville, Maryland!
Driving through Pennsylvania was beautiful and felt like the shortest stretch of the road considering it was my first time traveling through the state as well as the scenery being incredible. (It’s funny that I’m writing this because my mom is always the person on car rides who always points out the scenery.)
Basically, driving through the main highway in Pennsylvania consists of hilly terrain on both sides with little towns (all built on the hills) scattered every few miles. It sparked an interesting conversation in our car about how interesting it is to travel in the East (moreso than in the Midwest for us) because of all the historical places you pass as you’re driving on your way to your destination.
For instance, today we passed Pittsburg, the Mason-Dixon line, Gettysburg and the Antietam Battlefield as well as going through a long, old-looking tunnel on the Pennsylvania Turnpike through the Allegheny Mountains.
Anyways, after we get to the hotel, we have to unpack everything (my parents are nervous about someone breaking into the Ford Explorer that we rented as well as the turtle we put on top) and put it into our rooms then get a few precious hours of sleep before our White House tour tomorrow morning.
I am so excited to visit the White House that I basically can’t even breathe! Anyone who knows me well enough to know that I am obsessed with entertaining/cooking should know that I asked for and received the huge ‘Entertaining in the White House’ coffee table book for Christmas two years ago. Needless to say, I cannot wait to see the sites of famous gatherings, meetings, and, of course, the press room above all!
Even though security is hardcore at the white house (no purses, cameras, camera phones, numchucks, etc.) I can’t believe that tomorrow I will be standing in the same place as countless political officials and presidents. It gives me chills.
After our White House tour tomorrow, we have tons more touristy stops to make, including visiting the setting of one of the Colombo family’s favorite new TV shows—DC Cupcakes. The real name of the shop is Georgetown Cupcakes, located in the heart of the Georgetown neighborhood.
Alright, I’m signing off for now and will hopefully be able to update more in the next few days. My only concern now is that since I’m here for the entire semester, I didn’t really pack a weekender bag full of necessities for the weekend, I just packed everything! So, finding clothes, toiletries, etc. will include digging through the SUV.
I’m sure I’ll be able to figure it out, but Mike and Kathy just don’t know yet that they’ll be helping me!
Welcome to my first of many posts regarding my upcoming internship in Washington, D.C. I am going to be working with The Hill, a newspaper in the District that covers Capitol Hill politics and all their intricacies. I will be updating often to keep my family, friends, relatives and professors “in the know” with my life in D.C. and as a way to stay in touch while I’m away.
Throughout the entire fall semester, I will still be serving as the Online Managing Editor of The Butler Collegian, Butler University’s student newspaper.
Feel free to leave comments, read my blogs, or take a look at my activities via my Twitter account.
After almost two years living here, Indianapolis is officially starting to feel like my new home. I don’t know if it’s working at Indianapolis Monthly and being downtown a lot more or what, but I am truly starting to feel like I belong here. I think I was a little hesitant at first just because of trying to stay loyal to where I grew up in Northwest Chicagoland area, but I can’t deny it anymore–I love Indianapolis. It’s the perfect mixture of big city and small town you could ask for. There’s lots to do, but it’s not overwhelming and the downtown itself gives you energy but it doesn’t stress you out the way Chicago does. The only thing missing truly is more access to water and better public transportation (I’m a public transportation junkie)! I can’t wait to see what opportunities come up here. It’s just good to know that I would be comfortable and happy living somewhere else besides Chicago and still feel completely at home.
Best things so far about Indy:
1. St. Elmo Steak House
2. Swing dancing in Fountain Square
3. Circle Center in general
4. Eating lunch on the monument
5. Meridian Street
6. Le Petite Chou
7. The Canal/Holcomb Gardens
8. The IMA
More favorites to come!
Off to get some sleep before I have a full day of writing for Indy Monthly tomorrow!
Finally, the last few days have settled down. Monday night was the NCAA Championship game between Butler and Duke. Duke took us 61-59 after 40 minutes of intense back-and-forth college basketball at its finest. The campus is sad, along with the boys, but we’ll get them next year. We have an advantage because a lot of our starters are sophomores so hopefully they’ll be around for a few more years.
As happy as I was that the boys made it to the championship, it has meant a lot of sweat and tears put into the Collegian for the past two issues. Last week’s issue (3/31/10) was a standard 12-pager with a 4-page insert titled “How The West Was Won” highlighting Butler’s win of the West Region. This week’s issue (4/7/10) was a 16-pager and even though we didn’t have to worry about an insert, it still meant eight pages of extra news content that was decided upon on Sunday instead of the previous Wednesday.
Our hard work paid off! We have two great issues to show for the work and I’m extremely proud of my great section for their dedication to writing lots of last-minute stories that were important to the issue’s success.