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Welcome to my blog, excited for the adventures to come this summer!

Update 7: One Year Later

Although it may not be exactly one year since WJMC this is my one year update. I continue to be driven by the energy WJMC gave me last summer and have grown more independent because of the trip. I have been connecting with people more, I got my first job in September 2016 (which I still have), and I was elected Senior Editor on the school newspaper. The passion and confidence I got was WJMC is still evident today. I also still keep in contact with my friends (Eric, Connor, Karina, Olivia, Amy, and Lauren) from WJMC through our group chat and social media. I even went to Amy’s senior prom as her date. The confidence from WJMC has not only helped me with connecting with fellow WJMC alumni but it also has made me more confident with hanging out with my friends. Even after (a little over) a year the effect of WJMC is still all positive. WJMC changed my life for the better in every way.

Update 6: Fifth Day

Day 5: the final full day of the conference.The day began again with breakfast. Today it was ham, eggs, potatoes, and pancakes. We then went to our color meeting, Orange CRUSH, and talked about the plan for today. After the meeting we went on the buses to Washington, DC. At Washington, DC we went to the capital building and took pictures, group and individual. After this I went with a group of people including Eric from my color group to the National Gallery, before our congressional meetings. We saw art from Monet and Van Gogh. After a brief time their I broke off from the group to head over to the Rayburn House Office Building to meet with my local representative in the house Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).When I arrived (5 minutes early) I was told Rep. Rohrabacher was in a hearing and that I would meet him at a different office. When I arrived at there office it was the chamber for the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, and I meet Rep. Rohrabacher in a room, where he asked me to sit in on the hearing and I would be able to talk with him afterwards. I sat in on the hearing which was about China hacking the FDIC, it was unexpected and very cool. After this I walked and talked with Rep. Rohrabacher to a Falun Gong rally in front of the capital where he was to speak. He told me about how he was a reporter for a radio news station in Los Angeles before he became one of Fmr. Pres. Reagan’s speechwriters. He also said how when he worked as a speechwriter for Reagan, he would make sure the press wouldn’t be able to misquote the President. After arriving at the rally/peaceful (actually peaceful) protest of the Chinese governments oppression he gave a quick three minute speech which I watch from behind the stage. After he spoke we talked more, and he told me he was the speechwriter they would rely on if they needed a speech in a short period of time. I unfortunately didn’t get to take a photo with him because he had to vote in the House, but the experience of following him along was more than enough to remember. After this I met back up with the group I was with before at the National Air and Space Museum. Once I briefly looked through the museum with Eric and some others, our groups met up to go back on the buses. Once we got back to George Mason we got ready for the Gala. The gala was at a Marriott 30 minutes away, it was really fun. We had dinner, then we danced for about 3 hours. It was fun being with all our new friends, but it was sad knowing this was the last night. I had made so many good friends and I had the time of my life that night. After the gala, we returned on the buses going back to George Mason. On the bus we talked and listened to music with each other. As we had our final security check, we began to realize it was the beginning of the end.

 

Update 5: Fourth Day

Day 4 began with breakfast, again. Today it was eggs, tater tots, pancakes, and sausage. After breakfast we went to our group meeting, Orange CRUSH, and began to work on our simulation. Our simulation was of a newsroom in a newspaper, where the three head editors listened to articles from groups of two. I got the marathon article with my partner, the story was very lacking and bare compared to others, which gave other groups an unfair advantage. Our first presentation, which was only two minutes, and we only had 10 minutes to prepare for, was solid. The story, which was made up, was about a 17 year old Zimbabwean Runner who ran a sub 2 hour marathon, on his first attempt. After the first presentations, we went to a speaker. The speaker was photojournalist Carol Guzy, she spoke about her job and the human aspect of documenting big events in the world. After this she showed us a 30 minute slideshow that left everyone in tears. The slideshow showed triumphs like the fall of the Berlin Wall, and tragic events like the animals of Hurricane Katrina, post-9/11 ground zero, and limb-less children of Sierra Leone. She received a well deserved standing ovation. After this we went to lunch at the buffet on campus. This was the first time since day 1 that we didn’t leave campus. After lunch, we went to our color groups, Orange CRUSH, to have 15 minutes to prepare our second (and final) article presentation, in our simulation. We then presented for 3 minutes and were asked questions by the head editors for 2 minutes. We had a strong presentation, unlike Eric and Olivia. They had two disastrous presentations, and their article was about a women preparing to go to mars. Olivia ruined the first presentation by saying the astronaut would experience foreign culture through the Martians (I am not joking). Then the during the second presentation Eric said “this would be the biggest thing since Louis Armstrong on the moon.” The only problem is Louis Armstrong was a jazz musician, while Neil Armstrong went on the moon. He was so annoyed with himself that when the head editors told him that it was Neil not Louis, he walked out for 5 minutes (I’m not kidding)😂😂😂😂. After the presentations, the top three, who would be put on the front page, were announced, but before this the head editors deliberated in front of us. They announced their top 3 three articles, which did not include my and Karina’s article. It was really disappointing because one of the articles they picked was factually incorrect. It was pretty obvious they chose their friends, but who cares. After this we heard from Kevin McCarthy, who is a the entertainment (movies, not gossip) reporter on FOX 5 (D.C.) and “FOX and Friends” on FOX News Channel. He was really funny and totally nerded out on movies and the people he interviewed, like Harrison Ford and Ellen DeGeneres. He even told us this funny story of how CNN confused his twitter for the republican congressman of the same name. This led to hateful tweets from the congressmen’s opponents, which he took the time to reply to most of with funny movies references. After Mr. McCarthy, we had dinner at the buffet. After this we had another color group meeting, Orange CRUSH, talking about tomorrow’s (today as of the publish date) plans. After this everyone in each group went to a different speaker to hear about career exploration in journalism. I hear from Rodger Smith, who teaches at GMU and is the WGMU radio station faculty advisor. He talked about radio journalism. After this we heard from Charles Bramesco, of Rolling Stone Magazine. He was very lack lusted, sound like he was stoned and said that if you thought Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Halftime performance (which gave a salute to the racist hate group, Black Panthers) was controversial in any way you “don’t get black culture” (actual quote). After this we went back to our dorm buildings were I hung out with Eric, Karina, and Olivia until 11pm which was curfew. That’s all for today, tomorrow we go back to D.C. and go to the National Mall, where we meet with our congressmen/congresswomen.

Update 4: Third Day

The day started with breakfest at 7am, again. This morning the meal was Canadian bacon, eggs, pancakes, and hash browns. Immediately following breakfast went to the bus to go to Washington, DC.  We first went to the National Geographic headquarters. At National Geographic we heard a speech from the Editor in Chief of the National Geographic Magazine, Susan Goldberg. She talked about the five principles of storytelling: make a difference, do what others can’t, be part of the conversation, act urgently, know your audience. She also gave us three pieces of advice: be resilient, be curious, and be skeptical (not cynical). She was very personal, and great at telling the stories of the different articles. After National Geographic, we went to lunch at a mediocre Italian restaurant. We had salad, bread, pasta, chicken parm, and cheesecake. After lunch, we went to the National Press Club. First we listened to Brian Lamb from C-Span, he asked question about our political views and asked how we felt on topics. This helped us see how we can divided our opinion. He first asked who supports Donald Trump, I and 5-8 other people raised their hands. When he asked who supports Hillary Clinton, 10-15 people raised their hands, but when he asked who supported Bernie Sanders everyone else, about 220 people raised their hands. He was very intelligent, and made uneducated people look like they were embarrassing themselves. After Mr. Lamb, came a panel of three journalists from Google, The Huffington Post, and CNN-Newsource. All were very left-leaning, and had nothing really to say. They mostly avoided the questions and didn’t add much to each other. Finally after this we went back to George Mason. When we went back to George Mason we immediately had dinner. Dinner was a buffet with several options. After dinner we listen to a speech by Mike Shear, White House Correspondent for The New York Times. Mr. Shear gave a great speech about how sometimes he gets access in the White House, and other times he is blocked out. He also threw a jab at The Huffington Post for stealing articles, and had some jokes mixed in. He was a great speaker, and a great way to end the day. After this we had our color group meeting, Orange CRUSH, and we ended the day.

Update 3: Second Day

Day 2 started with breakfast at 7am, followed by a color group meeting (Orange CRUSH). After this we went on the bus to Arlington, VA. On the bus everyone, boys and girls, was playing Pokémon Go. When we arrived in Arlington, we were later, so we had to rush off the bus and into the keynote room. When we got in the keynote room, we sat down and waited for Hoda Kotb. Hoda then came in and talked to us. She was very nice, funny, and really related to the audience. She played her favorite song right now, “Me Too” by Meghan Trainor. Hoda was very down-to-earth. She told us this story of how she went down to Richmond, VA to try to get a job at a T.V. station, which she failed to get. After she failed to get it she was told to go to Roanoke, VA, where she was rejected, then to Memphis, TN, where she was rejected, and then went to multiple cities throughout the south. She was rejected from every single station. Then when she had given up after 10 days, she went to a station in a small town in Mississippi (I think). She said she tried for a job just to get a map because she was lost, but she was accepted. Her main message was never give up. She talked about how she progressed through the system and eventually at NBC asked for the promotion to host the, at the time, new 4th Hour of the Today Show, in 2007. She got the promotion, and hasn’t looked back since that small town in the south where she got accepted. She mainly said if you stay in the journalism business you will succeed, and told us to conquer fears and then tell those fears afterwards, “hey, you don’t scare me.” Going into the keynote I had known Hoda as the Today Show co-host who drank wine at 10am, but now I see that she has been, and still is a serious journalist on NBC’s Dateline. Also you can see me on one of her Instagram posts . After Hoda, we ate deli lunches in Arlington. After lunch we went to Washington, DC, where we went to the newseum for several hours. The newseum has several interesting exhibits, my favorites were the interactive CNN Election 2016 and the 9/11 exhibits. The 9/11 one was very sad and everyone was on the verge of tears or was tearing up seeing those horrific images. The CNN Election 2016 exhibit has several interactive maps, and a candidate matchmaker, I got Donald Trump. After the newsuem, we went to dinner, which was burgers and hot dogs. It was very good, and color group, also known as the Orange Cream Meme Team, made several funny memes in our chat. After Dinner we went to the White House. After the White House we went to the WWII Memorial. The WWII Memorial is very interesting and fascinating.After the WWII Memorial we went to the Lincoln Memorial. We saw Lincoln, and went around to the back side and saw the spectacular sunset. After dark we went to the gift shop in the memorial (which I didn’t know existed). After the Lincoln Memorial we went back to George Mason to rest. Over the first two days, I have made some friends, like Eric from St. Louis, Mo, and Connor from Virginia. The first few days have been fun and I am looking forward to tomorrow where we will go to the National Geographic Headquarters, and go to the National Press club.

 

Update 2: First Night

After the first day of WJMC I can definitely say it was worth flying all the way from California. Our color group, Orange CRUSH, is definitely the best we are 23 of the best people in the whole program. Its 4 four guys (myself included), 17 girls, our junior adviser Michael, and our adviser Sue. We played a name game with a tennis ball, which we once did in 28 seconds, and then we went to dinner. At dinner we had pasta, salad, chicken, and rolls, and for dessert we had cake. After dinner we had our first speaker Tina Rosenberg, who told us about solutions journalism, which shows solutions to problems and how they work. After the speaker, we had the advisers introduce themselves to all the groups, Orange CRUSH is still the best, and then we went to our first group meeting. In the group meeting we played a fun musical chairs-like game, which involved swapping chairs if you fell into the category the person in the middle said, like I have seen every Star Wars Movie, and if you didn’t get a chair you had to come up with a category. After this we discussed the elevator pitch and went over tomorrow’s activities. Tomorrow we are going to Washington, D.C. to see the newsuem, hear a from our featured speaker Hoda Kotb, and see the mall with all the monuments.