This blog is created by students of Whitworth University visiting New York City and Washington, D.C., for a class on Media Impact in the Contemporary U.S.
What I learned this trip is a difficult concept to grasp. I learned so much and in a variety of different areas that it’s hard to convey. Instead of rambling in a long, dramatic fashion, I decided to make a list of some of what I learned.
- Journalism is not dying, but changing.
- The Statue of Liberty is more beautiful in person; the Empire State Building is not.
- Investigative journalist is not a title you hold, it’s something you are and act upon even when you’re not technically in an investigative division.
- Nobody has done anything interesting between the ages of 20 and 25.
- Business cards that link to a website are better than normal business cards, because you can use analytics on your site to determine if anyone actually visited it.
- Annoying inconveniences can be fun if you’re with the right group of friends.
- The technology you have doesn’t matter as much as your creativity and ability to use it.
- Coming on this trip was the right decision and everywhere we went told us so.
- Brooklyn is beautiful during snowstorms.
- Feminist protesters are great at sign-making.
- Journalists are both worried and determined regarding the incoming administration.
- An inauguration is beautiful regardless of who is being inaugurated.
- Don’t discount the value of everyone thinking they’re not good enough to apply to something; it means that if you apply, you have a greater chance.
- Never say no to an incredible opportunity.
- Don’t be afraid of missing out on something you don’t want to do.
- The people and work are more important than the perks, but there’s a fine line between perks and decent benefits.
- Caution is more useful than fear.
- Cliche: you never know if you can do it unless you try.
- It is more important to figure out what you don’t want to do than what you want to do.
- Time is a valuable commodity and is a major consideration in deciding what you want to do.
- Hard work and determination will get you where you need to be if they don’t get you to where you want to be.
- Standing out is harder than fitting in, especially to an employer.
- Ask questions. Always ask questions.
- Take people up on their offers. Contact them and see where it goes from there.
- Don’t be afraid to be nice to people you think are great. Let them know they’re great.
- If you look like you know what you’re doing people are less likely to mess with you.
- If you’re not afraid in a situation and others are, listen to their fear because it might well be self-preservation in the works.
- Similarly, evaluate risk on a case-to-case basis. You never know what risks you’re willing or not willing to take until it happens.
- One job or one city is not a lifelong commitment. Go where you want to go and the rest will evolve.
- Visit a place before living in it. It might surprise you.
- There is no one right answer for everything.
- Success is unique to each individual. There are few universal laws to success. That means for the most part, nobody can say whether you’re doing it right or not.
- If you feel like you don’t have friends, it could possibly be you haven’t found the right ones yet.
- If you want recognition, you have to give it before you can receive it.
- When traveling, allot twice as much time as you actually need.
- You can fit as many people in an elevator as your mind can imagine.
- Distance is an artificial construct. If you don’t think about how many miles you have to walk to get there, the distance seems less.
- Mentors are underrated. Get one. Get many.
- You are way cooler than you give yourself credit for.
- People are kinder than you expect them to be, if you give them the chance to be.
- Listen to your gut and know when not to.
- Finally, all of these rules are changeable. They’re simply the thoughts and musings I agree with right now. I might have another experience that changes my mind about what success is or about how one should travel. The important part is realizing that it’s okay to change and to evolve. That’s what life is.
During our free time between meetings, it was an incredible experience to explore the cities as a group. This forged incredible friendships and learning about the cities together.
The meetings with the professionals were absolutely incredible. And the experiences learning about the cities and working as a team to navigate and enjoy each other complimented the professional aspects of the trip perfectly.
This trip has been one of the greatest experiences of my life and I am thankful for all the people I’ve met.
I watched the 2017 presidential inauguration of Donald Trump in person. I was there. I saw it.
I was interviewed by my local news station afterward–which was strange as a journalist–to be on the other end of the interview. They asked me how it felt to be at the inauguration. Regardless of anyone on the trip’s personal political affiliations, we were there to witness history. This election and inauguration were like nothing our country has ever been witness to.
As a journalist, I often think of the saying about news being a first draft of history. That thought was especially prominent during the inauguration.
President Donald Trump has made clear his opinions of media organizations and has said he will not hesitate to make things more difficult for journalists. As I sat in the crowd amid avid Trump supporters booing CNN I realized that his supporters agree with his opinion of journalism. When he swore to uphold our constitution, I swore that I would be one of the people to hold our leader accountable.
Opinions of specific journalists and news organizations may not be high, but one can’t dispute the function of truth in a democracy. An informed populace is necessary for democracy to function properly. If people do not know what is going on in the country, how can they make responsible voting decisions that align with their beliefs and are supported by evidence.
Now that Sean Spicer, White House press secretary has decided that the president’s word is law regardless of truth or moral standards, it is more important than ever for journalists to seek the truth and report it. To tell an “alternative fact” (lie) about something as inconsequential as inauguration attendance numbers is frustrating to those who value truth and honesty.
To be honest, I hope that Donald Trump will “make America great again” for all people and be the best president we have ever had. I do not wish mistakes upon him. I am not rooting for him to fail. I want our country to live up to its greatness. But as a journalist, trained to see beyond the fronts and walls people put up, I worry. I worry while hoping that I’m worrying for nothing.
As this is my fifth and final blog post to wrap up my experience on Whitworth’s “Media Impact” trip of 2017, I’d like to start with a round of “thank you’s.” Thank you, Whitworth administration and Study Abroad Program for offering such a wonderful opportunity for communication students to study the importance and impact of media on contemporary US society, as well as attend the 58th Presidential Inauguration.
Thank you, Kevin, for your willingness to take us on this trip and all of your hard work this month. Thank you for coordinating all of our meetings, travel, room and transportation arrangements, and for assembling such a fantastic group of students to participate on this trip. I know that this was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Just to be in New York and Washington D.C. during this particular time was a treat. And a lot of the executives that we met with talked about the relationship, however tumultuous, between politics and the media and discussed whether one fed into the other or not. Thus, we were left to ponder if, to some degree, the constant media coverage of Donald Trump was responsible for his election as president. It was also interesting to hear the media executives talk about what they expect from the Trump administration, in terms of the future of the media.
Lastly, I personally loved how every media organization said that there is a lack of diverse voices in media today. This will not do, and all of the media institutions we visited recognized that, which is powerful. However, I was slightly discouraged and disappointed that not all of the organizations we went to wanted to do something about it, such as Penguin Random House, whose staff simply stated that the problem was systematic and there was nothing to do about it. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose.
I disagree that there is “nothing we can do” about systematic issues, so that is why PRH was my least favorite visit of the trip. Because there is something that we all can do about the problems we see in society. That was evidenced by yesterday’s Women’s March in D.C., the largest protest in US history, upwards of 2 million strong voices. What a time to be alive and to have been able to witness and be a part of it. I am truly honored. It is not everyday that I witness history being made two days in a row.
While it is hard to pick my absolute favorite visit of the trip, I really appreciated our time with both CPJ and WNET. I love the work that CPJ does for journalists to ensure that they are safe and protected wherever they go; CPJ does its best to protect journalists and is an organization guided by sound ethical principles. In our visit with the head of WNET, she said something that struck me: she let her ethics dictate her career decisions, and is now where she wants to be. I think that was real powerful and it was encouraging to hear that we, as aspiring media professionals, do not have to sell our souls to do so. It was just a reminder that I will not have to sacrifice who I am to do what I love – I like that.
I touched on the inauguration in my last post, but I’ll do so again, just briefly to conclude this post.
Honestly, Inauguration Day and the Women’s March Day are a blur in my mind and I’m still trying to process each day fully. I will most likely do so in my term paper. Spoiler alert. For now, I’ll say that it was absolutely insane to witness so many thousands of people who supported Trump so strongly during his campaign. People who felt that they could finally celebrate his victory and own it.
Then, to turn around and run into protests on the streets of people so against our new president, and seeing tear gas clouds cover the air. And to get published in two different newspapers about my experience and calling into a radio station to give my account of the events; to participating in the historical Women’s March, it all happened so fast.
But, perhaps, after all of the commotion of the weekend’s events, the District can sleep alone tonight. Free from distraction… Maybe.
It took 18 days for my life to change drastically. This trip was filled with opportunity. From meeting with employees at huge media organizations to experiencing history being made, I truly couldn’t have asked for a better trip.
I had the opportunity to visit many huge media organizations and talk with their employers. We were able to sit in their fancy (and usually with a great view) conference rooms and talk about how the media is impacting the U.S. today and strategies on how to progress with the media in the years to come. Many of the employers had amazing advice to us. Some of the advice was reassuring and some made me realize how much work I still have to do before I enter the real world. I had the opportunity to look professional and act professional and get a taste of what these organizations are all about.
I had the opportunity to experience not only national history, but worldwide history. I was able to attend the inauguration and watch Donald Trump be sworn into presidency. I had the opportunity to stand in line for hours upon hours listening to Trump supporters chant and discuss their love for Trump. I was able to stand in a crowd of thousands of people there to support Trump while we watched on the big screen Barrack and Michelle Obama greet Donald and Melania Trump at the White House. I had the opportunity to see all these people coming from different parts of the U.S. (and of course the wide variety of diversity….Ha).
I had the opportunity to be apart of the biggest protest in the history of the world. The women’s march was put down in history as the biggest protest with over 2 million people participating. I had the opportunity to march with men, women and children of all ages and races and chant and cheer and uplift one another. I had the opportunity to witness some creative protest signs these people have made and their creative outfits. Most importantly, I had the opportunity to witness that there was still a large amount of hope and fight embedded in these people’s hearts. This gave me tremendous hope.
Lastly, I had the opportunity to experience real friendship. Going into this trip I only knew a few of the students, but not very well. Throughout the trip we had spent almost every waking hour together. Whether it was riding the subway, or getting lost and finding our way back, or sitting in meetings or family dinners, we always wanted to be with each other. Our group grew close the first day we started the trip and by the end it felt like a family. Some of us even bickered like siblings. In the airport departing ways for the first time in 18 days, I felt anxious and sad leaving my new close friends behind. I am beyond blessed to have had the opportunity to meet the amazing people I did and grow so close to them. I am sitting here in my dorm room in complete silence and I am wishing I was crammed with them in a loud hostel. This is how I know I met people who I would be friends with for a lifetime.