I was hoping to write last night, but SLEEP prevailed. In fact, sleep has been quite rare the past couple of days, but that is the life of being a journalist, and when I’m doing things I love, I really don’t mind that much, if not at all.
When I arrived Sunday afternoon it was HOT. HOT. hOt. Any way you spell it, any way you say it, it was humid and steamy. Of course, airplanes are always chilly, so trekking through the heat was not so warm and welcoming, rather cool and welcoming, as I was dressed in a long sleeve oxford and khaki pants with my long hair down. Not only that, but my room key slipped out of its holder and while carrying a massive computer bag had to hike all over campus sweating to get it replaced. BUT, who cares when you’re having fun right? I mean it definitely has been an adventure, and without one, I surely have the capacity for boredom.
Sunday evening we heard from Angie Goff, who is a reporter by week and anchor by weekend for News4 Today. She spoke a lot about social media and its prevalence in journalism, even tweeting back to us sitting in the audience while she was actually speaking to us. The art of multi-tasking and journalism. They’re basically the same thing right?
I asked the question, “How has being both an immigrant from South Korea and a woman affected your role in journalism?” She calls Northern Virginia her home, as she’s lived here most of her adult life. Being a mother with a hectic work schedule, and living away from her husband most fo the time, she recognizes a new sense of emotion and sympathy that was heightened through her change in lifestyle. She cannot take any new job offer because of her child or current family situation. When it comes to journalism, the typical family roles and lifestyle seem to always interact in a push and pull sort of fashion.
Monday was our trip to the Newseum, which was nothing other than amazing. From the Every Four Years election display to the Front Pages exhibit of newspapers from around the globe printed daily and hung up for visitors to read, to the September 11 video and display, the art of news and journalism was covered in every aspect. I even got to experience what it would be like to report from the Capitol and experience a 4-D movie! Check out the video of me reporting here.
Of course, I also get side tracked in the museum store because there were TONS of books. And how could I even forget the Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist exhibit? Amazing.
That night we heard from Neil Leifer, renowned and best-known sports photojournalist. I asked “With many of your photographs being staged do you really think they represent true situations or is it an art form to you?” Neil believes his photos are art. “With the growing interest in photography, the explosion of digital cameras that make it simple for anyone to shoot an amazing photograph, how do you see the future for photojournalists?” This is where Mr. Leifer gave me some hope, stating that even with the technology, it takes the skill and right person to really have great pictures and be successful.
Today marked the big day of speakers. We first travelled to the George Mason Arlington campus where we heard from Brian Lamb and Jamie Smith, who is the White House Press Secretary who filled in for Josh Earnest. At the National Press Club we heard from its president, Susan Bennett, and then a political panel made up of Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, Chuck Todd from MSNBC, Dana Bash who filled in for Jessica Yellin of CNN, and reporter April Ryan. AND following this treat, we finally got to hear from Hoda Kotb from NBC. She graced us with playing some songs from her iPod, and although not able to stay for a personal book signing, she signed all of our books on her way back to the airport.
With such a variety of speakers, a total of 8 today, it is amazing how similar their advice was. It all followed along the WHY question. Why journalism? What is journalism? If we can answer this, maybe we can find it as our passion, which doesn’t go directly for profit, but happiness.
Happiness. Now that is something I’m still trying to get used to after about a year of depression, continual weight loss and body deterioration, that it’s still hard to get used to. At times everything can seem so amazingly incredible it’s almost unbelievable; “Wow, I’m alive! I can travel the world and see beautiful things!” Other times, it’s so overwhelming it’s almost depressing.
Despite the 200 plus students at the conference, today I was able to correlate the trending WHY and WHAT questions into the ultimate pursuit of happiness, and if happiness is the ultimate definition of going through all of the hoops and hurdles of being a journalist, well then I guess I don’t mind dripping with sweat while searching for a lost room key or painful blisters while decked out in stiff business attire. When it comes down to it, that truly gives me a rush, an adventure, something new to share. It truly makes me happy. Again.
Stay curious, find your passion, and BE HAPPY!