Category Archives: Washington, D.C.

Paper Thin Hymn

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.

Hi all,

I thought I would give everyone an update about my internship. As you know, I’m interning at The Hill newspaper. You can read about the newspaper’s history here.

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.



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 Vietnam War Memorial. It goes on for a very long time, this is just a segment. You can see the Washington Monument in the background.

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: The girls in front of Abe. Now you can finally see the size of how big Abe is and do some comparing!

ABOVE: Katie and I blowing FDR a kiss on the cheek! As my Foreign Policy professor says, “Everybody loves FDR!”

ABOVE: The statue of Thomas Jefferson at the Jefferson Memorial.

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!



Everything in Transit

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! 😉



Washington, D.C. Bound

Hello all,

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.


Hayleigh Colombo | 847.636.8334 | Twitter | The Butler Collegian