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.