So, How Many More Days?

 

     So here is the thing: I don’t consider myself to be a type “A” person; so I do not know how many days are left until the conference. However, that does not contribute to how excited I am for the Washington Journalism Conference.  Why? Because I’m PUMPED…oh, wait, how “structurally correct” does a blog post have to be?

     Usually bloggers would’ve already left the reader when an inspirational thought, but at this point, I’m going to introduce myself. I consider myself to be a girl who makes calm conversations very awkward, and serious topics I make light. Some will call me rude, some will call me cold or weird. However, I am neither. I call this “Hannah”.  Are you inspired yet?

     My name is Hannah Morgan, and I am from West Virginia. I have teeth. My teeth are almost my significant other. Sorry, I’m getting weird. Here is the thing: I’m confused, but I do almost know one thing. This one thing is that I want to be a journalist. Unless something bizarre happens, I hope to be a successful one. I know, everyone wants to be successful…I’m just not a huge fan of the idea of living in a box…if that is your aspiration, you’re wild. But I do have this dream. I want to go outside of my comfort zone to reach the uncomfortable parts that need to be reported. I want to meet radicals; I want to meet the brave, because contrary to popular belief, these people are what needs to be reported…not reality stars. I want to see history be made. (I also would like to begin a sentence with “and”; because when people ask if it’s acceptable, I can notate, that in fact, I can do it because I am a writer.)

    I am a complicated being, I’m sorry. I have dreams, I’m not sorry; I hope you have dreams, too.

     Welcome to my Washington Journalism and Media Conference blog, I hope you enjoy the visit.

     Also, if you are soon going to the conference and have any questions, I should have my email somewhere on this blog….feel free to ask!

 

-Hannah Morgan

(shout out to the not illegally downloaded picture)

 

 

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Day 5: Our Last Full Day

I’ll admit, I’ll miss this conference and the experience that I’ve had…but it’s not over yet. I still have to pack and cry.

Today was spent in the great city of DC, exploring and wondering why my congressmen canceled…still. Since I was a bit distraught about the whole situation, I decided to make myself even more upset, so the Holocaust museum seemed like the obvious choice. That is how I spent about four hours. But let me tell you, the walk to the museum from the capitol kills everything in a body, but I don’t regret going…unless my meeting was still on.

When we arrived at the Holocaust museum, after dragging our tried bodies across streets and cars, we were ushered into a security check, which I always hate. Still, going through a metal detector is so much more pain free than being blown up.

The museum was unlike any  I’ve ever been in. We were given a small booklet of a person who went through the holocaust; then we were told, by a very rude lady, to go to the fourth floor and work your way down, reading one page on each floor. Despite her failure of knowing how to speak to a group of people nicely, she knew what she was doing.

Oh yeah, today was also the gala. It’s nice to dress up and look nice with everyone else. It’s  nice to be served food and godly cake. It’s nice to have fun for once. I’m an uptight person, who doesn’t know how to “fun”; and the truth is, I needed a night. We arrived, ate, danced, and left super tired. The long awaited gala finally happened, and it went well.

As I pack my bags, I’ll pack memories, too. And that’s special. I came into this conference with the mindset of fear. I feared if people would like me; if I’d get lost; if I’d even want to become a journalist anymore. None of that was true, (except the getting lost part…but it wasn’t major). From the start, I talked to new people, and the people here are so kind. I made experiences, even if the odds weren’t in my favor; and most importantly, I became excited about journalism. So, I’d like to say thank you to my parents for encouraging me to come to this amazing conference and financing it; thank you WJMC, for opening the doors wide enough for me to see the other side. I’ll always remember this week, the best yet.

 

Day 4: Journalism experience

Today, we stayed on campus, and it was nice. Today was also a day of straight journalism for me. But there is one thing about journalism…I’ve never been taught the fundamentals of journalism. Oh, did you say “pitch” or “lead”? I’m lost.

It’s kinda funny going into journalism without even knowing the elements that journalism consists of. I guess I’m weird…I just thought the concept of telling stories was cool.

For one, we had a real life newspaper simulation where we were to pitch our story ideas to our head editors with a creative spin. We were in a competition to get on the front page of the Washington Post, and the competition was heavy. And yes, I know what the front page was.  I’ve never done anything like that before in my life. It was so much fun, once I realized what the building blocks were; but I was so horrible.

Next, we got to choose one speaker out of about ten, to listen to. I chose Beth Jannery, director of the journalism program, here at Mason. She brought journalism out for the class to touch. She placed us in the stance of a journalist in hopes that we’d find whether the journalist (Kevin Sites) made the ethical decision. The video that we would judge was horrible, yet so addicting. We grouped together and shared our views. When we had shared with the class, Jannery came back with the background story…and that changed everything, even with a raw video.

I’ve never been to in depth with journalism until today, and I am addicted. Carol Guzy helped with that. She made me cry, and I hate crying. She was full of raw emotion, and I could almost see it pouring out of her. Something about her made me feel upset. She has seen things we’ve never dreamed of; met people who’s neighbor is death. Journalists are human; so emotion is real.

Also, I should be preparing my questions for my congressman, who I should be meeting tomorrow at the capitol…until he canceled. Better yet, it was canceled TODAY. I had a quick change of plans. He had some, too.

whatever. I guess that just prepares me for the future of sudden, inconvenient changes of plans. I’ll deal with it.

 

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I stole this from Kevin McCarthy

Day 3, Politics and Meetings

Again, like everyday, I struggled to roll out of bed. However, unlike all the other days, we walked ourselves to the dinning hall for breakfast without meeting with our color group. This wasn’t an issue, I just had to sit with a couple of girls I had never seen before due to not finding anyone else from my group. Good thing: they were chill…I like chill.

One thing wasn’t okay, though: the political panel. The panel would’ve pleased my nerdy brain if it weren’t for Brain Lamb’s conversation/ talk before them.

As intimidating as Lamb is, he knows what he’s doing. Throughout his tormenting conversation, he kept popping out controversial topics that made us, young journalists, react. Even though he could probably kill one with a glance, what he illustrated throughout the meeting demonstrated what true journalism is. Now I realize why he is popular and respected in the industry.

He engaged with us; he gave us a voice (when he actually saw us, on the other side of the room). He heard our opinions and our knee jerk reactions. He heard the laughs after responses; he heard the boos and cheers. (it was very intense) Even when all of this happened, he simply asked “why”, and never showed his biased opinion. I know that this takes a strong person. I know that I automatically inject my argument into a conversation.

Fun fact: if you look up the definition for the word “journalism”, it says, “Brian Lamb”.

Contrary to Lamb, the 3 journalists on the political panel were all biased, especially the Huffington Post correspondent. After hearing the god of journalism speak, you cannot go atheist…but they did…and beyond. The political panel I was so excited for became a “let’s bash Trump” panel. No, Trump isn’t the best, but they were all journalists.

But still, WJMC is teaching me daily. I am extremely honored to be learning from the ones who made it. What may be offered may not be my dream (political panel), but it still teaches me. Honestly, I still enjoyed the panel…it’s nice to hear one side of the story.

Day Two- Gone All Day

Even though the beds were uncomfortable, I still struggled to wake up at my planned time of 6am…So I slept in somewhere between 1 or 60 more  minutes . Don’t worry, it’s normal.

I’m still tired…I have come to realize that being tired is a part of my personality now.

After I did manage to wake up and walk outside to meet my color group for breakfast, we walked into chaos. The dinning hall was overflowing with people, pushing their way and food through the hungry others. (me) But despite my first impression, the food was pretty good, and the cooks were sweet..like my French toast.

Then we drove to see the queen: Hoda. When she walked into the room, we became peasants; but she made sure that she gave us inspirational quotes. Honestly, she was an excellent speaker who had a lot of control over the peasants. Now I see why so many people love her. I love her, too.

When the queen left to catch a flight, we were on our way to the newsuem. The newsuem has about 5 stories of world changing journalism throughout history. Some levels were filled with such emotion, you finally realize how important journalism is. And that thought alone is life changing, powerful. Journalists put themselves in unsafe surroundings just for the sole purpose of delivering the truth behind, and in the middle of, the war. Journalists  work endlessly, talking to people of different backgrounds and visiting lands of horror, just to enlighten the citizens. Maybe journalists aren’t seen as important in current times, but, in a sense, they protect our freedoms by finding truth. I hope to be one who denfends the rights of citizens. I want to become a journalist.

Day 2 was great

Day 1: I’m so tired

Today, I woke up around 8. I woke up at 8 so my parents and I could drive all the way to Fairfax, VA, from good ol’ West Virginia. The drive was all wrong: at twelve, things were going smoothly, catching the occasional red light; however, at three, the rush hit. Someone got in a wreck; someone ran out of gas. Everything horrible happened…well maybe. Well, maybe that was all a lie (I did wake at 8 though).

Thankfully, my parents and I drove down the night before so we could get settled in and not have to rush and curse all the way to DC (close to…). This was a good thing for at least three reasons: 1) I was NERVOUS,  so I feel this was the best way to not throw myself into a tidal wave without knowing how to swim, 2) we went to the mall the day before, which was the biggest mall I’ve ever walked…and get almost lost in, 3) and finially, breakfast at the hotel.

Having breakfast, while wearing my designated WJMC shirt, I got to meet the first person going to the conference, other than myself. Her mom come over to where my parents and I were sitting, and lit up the room. She asked for directions, and I spoke to her daughter a little. This, I seriously believe, helped calm my nerves. I don’t really understand how. Maybe I just feed off of other’s nervousness and turn it into chillness…somehow…maybe I’m a witch.

After a campus tour, hanging out with friends at the Hub, and taking my time getting ready for dinner…(yes, you have to change outta ya skankness) we finally went to dinner with our color group…which was #shaquilleoteal. While I was eating this piece of cake sent from God, a speaker, Tina Rosenberg, a columnist from the New York Times, spoke to us, as speakers do. She was really informative; basically stating that good journalism is effective.

After meeting with our color group once more, while crying up six flights of stairs, we got to go home. It is 12am, and I’m tired. Sorry, I’m being a grandma…it’s been a day. I can say this: if you come to WJMC, wear COMFORTABLE shoes.

I can honestly say it’s been a good day…and I’m super tired.