In sum

I’ve put off this final blog post for about a week now…not because I’m lazy or because I gave up on writing. I just have no idea how to wrap the best experience of my life into words. I learned more than I ever expected, so I guess that’s what I can share.

About people:

-They’re complex. Everyone has a story, a reason, a goal. Rigorous programs like this bring out the best and worst in everyone because of the workload and time crunch. You either handle it, excel at it, or fall flat on your face. I saw people fall into all three categories.

-They’re intelligently stupid. For my age group, I came across some of the brightest and capable people I’ve ever met. I also came across people who knew how smart they were. What these few don’t understand is that what they know now is simply a baseline for the potential they have in the future. It’s unfortunate to see that they think these people already know everything. 

About Washington:

-You’ll never see the same faces twice, but they’re always happy to help. I can’t tell you how many times I got lost, confused or just curious. Regardless of where I was, I found a friendly face with more knowledge of the city than I possessed. No one was familiar, but everyone was friendly. I felt comfortable in the chaos.

-It’s beautiful. The buildings, the monuments, the people, the history. I could sit on top of the Old Post Office for hours and just stare. DC is where everything happens, but it’s also the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen. I know it sounds a little fangirl-ish, but just look at some of the photos. It’s amazing.

About myself:

Curiosity is not a bad quality to have. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions. I don’t ever think I can possibly know everything, so I’m always asking more questions. Before, I saw that as a weak trait, a sign of a naive girl with dreams that were out of reach.

-My dreams aren’t actually that far out of reach. Sure, I have some work to do this year, but I met so many people that told me I could make it because they did. I worked hard this summer during my internship and in creating a network. Everyone I spoke with told me they started in a similar place; with a big dream and a strong work ethic.

That’s all I’ve got, so I think I’m in a good place. Give it a year, I’ll be back. Image

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My first big news day and the panic attack that followed

As an intern, I strive to impress everyone. To do the best I possibly can. To show my boss I have hiring potential. To prove to myself that I’m in the right field. To learn that in order to grow, you have to make mistakes. 

Not sure if the mistake I made was a big one, but it definitely felt like it. I went through the entire day trying to keep up with instructions, getting things done quickly and trying to make up for the morning’s flub. It was my first big-news day. Let me tell you, I did not handle it well. 

Breaking news: I might suck at my job.

One of the main reasons I want to be a journalist is to be in the middle of the action, to write the first draft of history, to throw myself into the fire and see what kind of story comes out.

I got my first shot at this about a week ago and completely dropped the ball. Here’s what happened…

Healthcare. Everyone’s probably sick of hearing about it, so allow me to provide some comic relief. 

I attended a networking seminar from 8-10am. The decision was announced at 10am. My boss told me to come in after the seminar, but text her first just in case they weren’t in the office. She tried to send me to the Supreme Court to take photos after I got out of the seminar without realizing that it’s a 40 minute commute from Georgetown. 

The bus wasn’t running on rush-hour time, so it took even longer. I got about half way before she told me to just come to work. Fail. Epic, epic fail. 

I spent the rest of the day thinking I blew my first shot to cover breaking history, which was true. What wasn’t completely necessary was the fact that I assumed my boss now thought I couldn’t handle my job…hence, this post.

The lesson I learned from all of this: adapt. 

Can blogging be taken seriously?

 

Back in the day (about five years ago), I was completely against blogging. I thought it was pointless. Why does anyone want to read your diary online? Mind you, I was comparing the idea of a blog to things like xanga and myspace, where thirteen year olds thought it was okay to post minute-by-minute updates of their day. I’ll admit I went through the phase for about three months. After that, it got exhausting.

From that point, my interpretation of blogging was forever skewed. I didn’t think news bloggers could be legitimate and there was no way I would rely on them for a daily update on the world. Perez Hilton was not a journalist—so how could anyone turn uncensored posts to the web into legitimate journalism? I think the answer depends on the author.

Most authors circle their blogs around a point or topic. There’s nothing wrong with stating your opinion, but my issue with blogging is the fact that people can’t tell the difference between fact and opinion. The influx of news outlets online makes it difficult to determine which are reliable and some people don’t bother to try to figure that out.

My goal as a blogger for this summer is to write. I’m interning at a broadcast station and I don’t want my writing skills to drain, so here I am. Now the issue is whether or not blogging is actually helping me keep my skills sharp, or if it’s just a waste of time. I don’t necessarily judge that based on the amount of readers I have, rather the quality of my posts. Blogging does not require as much research as legitimate news writing, but it can if I’m writing about something that requires a source.

Journalism is about telling the truth. It wasn’t always a noble art fostered by unbiased men and women simply writing what they saw—it was propaganda. Then it evolved into rough drafts of history books, in which both sides were given equal merit.  Now it’s moving back toward a media with more opinionated outlets than straight news. But blogs can fit into either category.  

And the cycle continues…

Taking the Call: It’s Your Story

So, I’m sitting in the office, it’s day two or three of my internship. I’m doing research, making some phone calls and monitoring the Twitter account…all normal intern-ish stuff. All of a sudden, there’s a call for me.

Wait, why does anyone want to talk to me? I’m just the intern, just the one doing the research and sending the emails. But now I’m on the phone with a professional trying to see if he’s a strong candidate for an on-camera interview. Do I know what I’m doing? Absolutely not. Am I freaking out? Absolutely.

Fast-forward about five minutes and I’m hanging up the most nerve-racking call of my life when my boss turns to me and starts critiquing my call. One thing really stood out. “Take the call. It’s your story.” You have to own the interview and control the situation. 

My story? As an intern, I didn’t really think anything would actually be “mine,” per say. I just thought I’d help. I guess I should have assumed that I’d be working my way up, and why shouldn’t I own a piece of everything I do? Interning is about showcasing your talents and growing into the professional environment. Things might not have my byline right away, but there’s no reason why I can’t own my work. 

This summer is the beginning of my story; and I’m going to make every call count.

On your mark, get set, ORIENTATION!

The countdown is over. The days of packing, stressing and traveling are over. Let the summer begin. 

After 8 hours in the car and one night at the Key Bridge Marriott, I finally arrived at the new apartment. Eight weeks, five girls, three rooms, two showers, one goal: make this the experience of a lifetime. 

Thankfully, the program didn’t send us off right away. Having two days to get acclimated to the area and class has given us time to settle in. 

But tomorrow, the fun really begins. 

About this Blog

My name is Alexa Gorman; I’m a senior at Stony Brook University. I’m a journalism major and political science minor. This summer, I am attending The Fund for American Studies’ Institute on Political Journalism. I have an internship at the Washington D.C. branch of PBS’ Nightly Business Report.

Since NBR is primarily focused on broadcast, I wanted to find a way to continue writing. This blog will focus on one intern from the Washington D.C. area. Thousands of students flock to the capitol in the summer to soak up the work experience, but no two journeys are the same.

My personal experience and thoughts will appear throughout the summer as well.