The past two days have been the beginning of a truly remarkable experience! Not only have I gotten the opportunity to hear the experiences of and advice from three of the best reporters/photographers/members of the field, but I’ve also made some great friends along the way. Looking back to yesterday’s arrival, we were welcomed by the staff of both George Mason University and the conference itself, both of whom provided a friendly atmosphere. I’m not sure about everyone else participating in the conference, but this was definitely a great help, especially being so far away from home. Following check-in was a group dinner, which for me, was my only meal since I had headed out to the airport at 4:30 A.M that same day! And may I add, it was absolutely delicious! But the great food and casual talk within our color groups was only part of the fun. As our first night’s guest speaker, we heard from Kevin Loker, an Alumni from George Mason. He talked of his path to journalism, his curiosity in the truth, and how journalism has and will continue to change in the future. With his advice, I feel like I am one step closer to being successful, not only in my future in the career, but also in my next two years as Editor of my school’s paper. I now have tips to bring back to my own staff, which will hopefully allow us to follow in Loker’s footsteps to success.
With the much needed rest, we awoke to day two of the conference and headed down with our color groups to the dining hall for breakfast. After a quick meal (and when I say quick, I mean QUICK! We had half an hour to finish our breakfast, which for the non-morning people who were with us, this provided much of a challenge!) But it was well worth it. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss the day’s activity due to over-staying my welcome in the dining hall! After all, I wouldn’t have been able to witness the incredible place in D.C known as the Newseum. That would have been unfortunate. Any way, like I said, the Newseum was amazing.
Each of the exhibits provided their own unique part of journalism, some of which I had never seen or heard of before this trip. Some of the information discussed in the museum were things that I hadn’t given much consideration. One example of this is shown in the picture below.
Each color represents the freedom of press that each region has, red being none, yellow being some, and green being complete freedom. Being in an area with such freedom up to this point has blocked me from reality. But viewing this map has made me realize how truly fortunate I am to have such privileges.
From the knowledge we gained from each exhibit to the experience we gained from participating in life-like journalism simulations, I can definitely say that it was a day well spent. It’s difficult to narrow it down to a favorite part!
And I can’t forget the two amazing speakers who concluded our night. Although completely different in their style of presentation, the speeches of both Candy Crowley and Neil Leifer were each spectacular in their own way. I gained an insight into the world of photography, but also learned of the best tips to success in the journalism field. To sum up the night, each group put forth a skit of what they had taken from the Newseum exhibits. Even though the overall idea of “performing” our ideas seemed strange to me at first, it became an experience which I will never forget. All of the groups did an amazing job, but I can’t help but being a bit biased… Purple team rocked the house!