Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fantastic Start to February

Hello everyone! Can't believe we are already 2 weeks into February...time is going by way too fast. I've noticed that the older I get, the faster time goes by and the more the days blend together. I am happy that I am keeping this journal because even recalling the past 2 weeks worth of events was difficult! Anyway, I have done a lot these past two weeks and have some exciting things planned for the rest of my trip.

I began the first day of February off right by having a girls night at my sorority sister's apartment. The past two weeks have been crazy busy at work so it was nice to have a a little down time. The next day I wrote a fake memo to Nancy Pelosi for my Washington Media class. Researching the media coverage she has gotten was interesting to say the least. At the end of the week, my other professor planned a visit to The Washington Post. One of the reporters showed us around the news room then gave us a chance to ask him questions about his job. It was really cool to have that insight, especially since The Washington Post is regarded as a top newspaper. On our way out, we saw Ben Bradlee who was the executive editor from 1968-1991 and was famous for helping break the Watergate Scandal. When we got back to class, I made a presentation about my internship. I was surprised at how easy it was to talk about my internship. I did however have a hard time describing the clients that we work for. After class, my friends and I went to one of the only taco stands in D.C. and then visited the Supreme Court. We got there just in time for the last showing of the actual Supreme Court Room.

The next day was a rainy Saturday in D.C. My friends and I went to brunch then took the metro to Friendship Heights which is in Maryland. There was a lot of shopping opportunities but I could not justify buying anything =(. We did however hit up Cost Plus World Market. They had a wine tasting event and the people there were extremely nice and helpful. I bought some white wine from Spain that ended up not tasting too good. The next day was Super Bowl Sunday. I made the terrible mistake of going to Trader Joe's that morning. Not only was the line out the door but half of the things I normally buy ran out. I spent the rest of the day being lazy.

The week that followed was generally uninteresting outside of work as I was mostly swamped with work. On Friday, my professor had 2 field trips planned. Our first field trip was at the National Gallery. We met with a curator who discussed her job and the museum. She explained how the Gallery was federally and privately funded which I found to be interesting. She also explained the degree of care and thought that goes into the artwork that is put on display. The exhibits take about 2-3 years of planning! Our second field trip was at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building which is where most of the White House Staff works. We met with one of Michelle Obama's speechwriters. She gave us a synopsis of her previous jobs that led her to her current job. She explained that speech writing fell into her lap and was not really her original career path. I asked her about her work load noticing that she had 2 blackberries and had to monitor them constantly. She explained that life on the campaign trail was even more hectic as she once put her blackberry in a plastic bag as she showered because she couldn't miss a call. I found her hard work and dedication to her job very admirable but at the same time, I could never imagine being that attached to my phone or even my job! But I can't judge since I have never been put in that position. I can only hope that I find a job that I love enough to shower with my phone. She ended by saying that working for the public has given her a lot of satisfaction and joy. This was really inspiring to me especially since I am at a fork in the road and I have no idea what my future will be like. It inspired me so much that I spoke to my professor about possibly doing communications for the public sector and even working for a campaign. Only time will tell! That night, we celebrated a birthday at a restaurant in U Street. It was a tapas type restaurant and it had a nice view. I could see the tip of the Capitol and part of the Washington Monument from my seat.

Yesterday, my friend and I went to the Newseum. This is a museum that is focused on showing news coverage from the past and present. The exhibits that stood out to me the most were the Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 exhibits. The Katrina exhibit showed the news coverage from different parts of the country and they also had a short documentary. The documentary was very powerful and showed how the media was more informed than the government about the severity of the situation. There were clips of people on the streets chanting "HELP!". It still boggles my mind how we are one of the most powerful nations in the World but we can't even provide basic help to our own citizens in a timely manner. There was also a timeline that showed that it took 2 weeks for any recovery efforts to begin. Definitely a moving exhibit and I'm so glad that we got to see it before it was over. The 9/11 exhibit was equally moving. They had the antenna from one of the buildings on display. They also had the front page coverage from different states and countries on display. The documentary brought me to tears. It detailed the great lengths reporters went to to get coverage. The reporters that were first on the scene were there before either of the buildings collapsed and it was amazing how brave they were to stay there as law enforcement would pressure them to leave. It was very moving and at the end it listed the reporters and crew that lost their lives covering this tragedy. One of my other favorite exhibits was the Pulitzer Prize exhibit. We were rushed through this because the museum was closing but it was absolutely fascinating. Many of these pictures were graphic and devastating but I appreciated the raw moments these reporters were able to capture. Many of these photographers could have lost their lives taking these pictures. All in all, I highly recommend going to the Newseum.

On to my busy work life:

One of our clients came out with a huge announcement on Feb 3. So basically from Feb 2 to now I have been busy putting together a coverage report for our client. It was awesome to see our outreach. We were able to get many major news outlets to specifically cover our client and the press release was reposted on more than 100 websites. Working so closely with this announcement has taught me a lot about the media. Some of our briefings were booked far in advance and some were booked the day of. It is near impossible to know what to expect before the news actually hits which showed me how important it is to be able to cater to any situation.

When I wasn't busy at work putting together that report, I was busy pitching reporters for our other clients. I have slowly gotten better at this but I obviously still have a lot to learn. I am struggling with the message our clients are trying to convey and I am also struggling with giving the different writers the information they are looking for. I am assuming this is something that takes time to learn and isn't something I could have learned in a class room.

So that is what my past 2 weeks have been like. I am looking forward to my trip to NY next week and I am also looking forward to my planned visits to The Pentagon, White House, State Department and Alexandria/Mt. Vernon/Arlington. I hope everyone has a lovely rest of February! I will try to post pictures on my next post!