I’ve been in D.C. for a year now but I really feel like I’m finally starting to settle in. The first semester of grad school was tough–it was a lot of learning and instilling the basics of online journalism. Here’s how you set up your own website…here’s how you interview, video and take photos…you have to do it all and we’re going to teach you how! Yes, there was a lot of that. And while most of it was very valuable, some of it was not beneficial and a majority of it wasn’t terribly fun.
But this semester, I’m in classes I want to take, working on projects I’m excited to tell my mom about–that’s when you know a project is good. One of my favorite courses is a web writing class with Professor Amy Eisman. She gives us real world examples of what makes a great headline or web story and then lets us write our own and tells us what we did right and wrong. We are also working on an exciting project with the Washington Post and the best part is that I get to be the managing editor–that means I have a large leadership role and get to oversee the direction of the project. I’m really excited for the opportunity.
I’m also taking a race, ethnic and community reporting class. I’m assigned a neighborhood-Mt. Pleasant–and told to write about it. So, right now, I’m going over there anytime I can and exploring. It’s slightly terrifying and exhilarating at the same time to walk around in an area where you know no one and trying to find a story.
And then there’s my job. I love my fellowship and I’ve received many great writing opportunities through it. For the past two days, I’ve been working on the Hill covering hearings and writing articles on those hearings. Today, I sat with the other reporters in the Press Gallery in the Capitol. I was working on a deadline, fielding emails from editors, following up on quotes, fact-checking numbers–real reporting. It’s so refreshing!
I feel like I’m really starting to find my voice–personally and professionally.