03 4 / 2013
I’m no longer interning in Washington, so this blog is going to get a bit of an overhaul. It’s still going to be about jobs, and (hopefully?) working in D.C.
Since I’m not interning, this blog will start to change into more of a professional-ish blog, detailing my process of job searching, maybe putting out some of my other work, commenting on the journalism industry today, and other stuff. It’s tough work, I must say.
Until I figure out what to rename my blog, “Meghin Goes to Washington” is still going to be the name. Who knows? Maybe I can actually find a job from blogging? Because that would be super.
02 8 / 2012
Since I haven’t updated this in forever, I’m going to tally up the rest of the web stuff that I’ve done. Once again, they’re organized by date.
- Bethesda teen gets ready for next Olympic qualifier (6/28/12)
*Side note: Katie Ledecky is currently swimming away in London at the Olympics! She made it!
- Fashionistas turn to flash sales (6/28/12)
- Tips to avoid heat-related illness (7/6/12)
- Apps act as bodyguards (7/11/12)
- Tips to save money and keep cool in the summer (7/12/12)
- D.C. ranks in top 10 for transit coverage (7/12/12)
- Study: Time may drag when taking a trip far away (7/21/12)
- Tips to save money on groceries (7/27/12)
- Standardized testing scores in D.C. improve (7/27/12)
- Fencing: A game of physical chess (7/27/12)
*Side note: This was my huge “intern project” this summer. I came up with the idea myself, and actually learned how to fence with another intern. I paid for it days afterward, because I didn’t realize how much pain I’d be in!
- Cities where houses cost less than cars (8/1/12)
- New bridge monitoring system could save lives (8/1/12)
02 8 / 2012
My internship is done on Saturday and I’ve seriously been slacking on getting posts up! I’ll have a more comprehensive update when I’m on vacation at the lake next week!
30 6 / 2012
This week was technically the “midpoint” of my internship…and here I am pulling overtime on a Saturday.
For starters, I can’t believe that the end of my first month interning is almost over! It’s so crazy. The time really flew by fast. I wish I could say the same about this week though.
June 27 - I was put to work with web again, writing up a story about Sears and how they’re now offering vacation layaway. Yes, layaway. For a vacation. When I think layaway, I just think of the Christmas present commercials that come out (oddly enough, by Sears/Kmart) during the holidays. I also wrote up two more stories after that, about UFOs and aliens, and flea collars. I’m writing “web fluff,” and I’m somehow okay with that. I also started editing/revising some writearounds for the phone interview that I did last Friday. I’m not sure if those will air on the station now, because the news picked up big time, thanks to the storm that I’ll be discussing shortly.
June 28 - I did more writearound revisions. Woo. I also wrote more stuff for the web. This time, it was about a girl from Bethesda who got third in one of the Olympic trials in swimming, and flash sale sites. The flash sale site one was fun to write because I was able to draw from my own experiences with sites like Gilt, HauteLook, ideeli, and MyHabit to get the word out about how people are looking for luxurious items at non-luxurious prices. Oh yeah, and I helped out one of the other interns. It’s surprising. I am not a huge techie person, but I’ve been able to pick up how to use the audio editing software pretty fast. I attribute this to high school, and learning how to use Final Cut.
Later on in the day (probably around 10 am), I witnessed history. The SCOTUS made a decision on the health care bill. While that might not seem monumental to some, it was pretty monumental to me…only because I got yetanotherethics lesson on what not to do. Not from the station itself, but from CNN. Even big news corporations like CNN make big oopsies from time to time. I think I’m going to go into more detail about this in a later post. I’ve had too many ethics lessons in the past six months alone.
I also found out that the computers at work have WinTV, which enables the computers to turn into a TV. I also learned that you can directly record audio from the TV on your computer into Audition. 28 minutes of audio later, and I was ready to go. CSPAN-3 was turned on my computer, and Audition sat and recorded the sounds of CSPAN. I think there was someone out on the Hill during the decision, but I think the station wanted some backup audio and natural sound (natsound) for news pieces.
Before I left, I set up an interview for one of the reporters to go with a paving crew in Fairfax The story? Hot jobs on extra hot days. Sounds crazy, right? When I heard the final piece, I thought she did a great job with it.
June 29- This was probably the most uneventful day of the week. That’s all. There’s nothing to see here.
June 30- I’m still at work. I’ve been here since 7:45. Today wasn’t supposed to be eventful, and I was supposed to be working on something else for one of the other staffers. However…storms take all other presence over everything else on days like today. I’ve been taking calls, calling various businesses, and freezing my butt off in the newsroom, because of the chaos that was the derecho storm that blew through here last night. That storm was crazy. I’ve lived through hurricanes before, and nasty thunderstorms, but never a derecho. There are tree limbs everywhere, traffic lights out, people without power, cooling centers galore, and it’s a circus. I’ve learned firsthand what a busy newsroom day actually looks like. This is journalism. You always have to expect the unexpected.This storm, especially, was unexpected, and there might be more on the way tonight. Oy.
27 6 / 2012
Here’s a listing of all of the stories I have written/contributed for WTOP this semester. I know that I already posted about some of them a while ago, but it doesn’t hurt to have them all in one central location. These are organized by date.
- Montgomery Co. has nation’s highest graduation rate (6/8/12)
- Motorcyclists ride for 24 hours to raise PTSD awareness (6/9/12)
- Live like a baller, shot-caller without the price tag (6/13/12)
- Archaeologists to excavate ship that dates to War of 1812 (6/14/12) Side note: This piece also was linked by Federal News Radio, which is WTOP’s sister site.
- Restaurant app caters to iPad users (6/14/12)
- Hispanic community in Md. speaks out at summit (6/16/12)
- Millennials gravitate to sites other than Facebook (6/22/12)
- Sears offers vacation layaway (6/27/12)
- Flea collars toxic for pet owners (6/27/12)
- People believe in aliens, survey finds (6/27/12)
27 6 / 2012
I’m just a wee bit behind on chronicling my journey with my internship this summer. And the past two weeks have been insane! In fact, I’m almost at the midpoint of the semester, which is absolutely crazy.
Instead of chronicling my journey day-by-day, I’m going to condense it. Somewhat.
June 13-16 - The week started out with me sitting with one of the assistant editors, where I shadowed her. She was the last person I had to shadow! From there, I learned about turns, which are liveshots redone for later broadcasts. Of course, I also ended up doing one of the “typical” intern things, which was to get food for the office. Only this time, Chick-Fil-A delivered food to the office, and I had to go down to the lobby and pick it up. It was two huge bags of sammiches, as well as a Chick-Fil-A goodie bag. Free food=happy Meghin, and even moreso, happy staffers! I also did a lot of writing for the web. I really enjoy writing for the web people. They’re super nice. Since I have so many stories up now, I’m going to compile those into a later post, just like I’m going to compile some pictures into a later post.
The next day, Colleen introduced me to Pinterest. Personally, I don’t like the site, but I’ve turned into the curator for the station. I help out Colleen by pinning news stories, as well as many of the “Friday Freebies” that the site lists. This was where I learned that social media is absolutely crucial to a business. The station is quite prominent in the Twittersphere and the Facebookverse, but is slowly starting to gain traction with Pinterest Pinners. By having their name on several different platforms, it helps them have more of a voice online, and to grab more listeners/fans. I also wrote another story, this time, going more in-depth on a short piece that was aired on the station.
This was also the week that I learned that interns sometimes sit around and do nothing but research stories and do small jobs. That was my Friday. I’m the type that has to constantly be doing something, even while medicated. I’m a very ADHD person, even though people are shocked to find that out.
Finally, Saturday allowed me to do something quite interesting. I accompanied Max to a White House Initiative meeting on Educational Excellence for Hispanics out in Maryland. I had never been to an event like that, and I actually gained a lot from going out with him. Not only was it an important event for Hispanics and politics, but it was important for me. This was where I had my first bilingual experience. First of all, I learned that meetings like that are VERY important during election years, and that sometimes the most unexpected timing can work out for events like that. That Friday? Obama announced that he was going to allow undocumented children and young adults to stay in the country provided that they do not have any criminal records, and are seen as outstanding people in their community. Anyway, Max interviewed a woman who felt more comfortable speaking Spanish. I actually understood a lot of what she was saying. This is where I really understood how important it is to be bilingual in the journalism industry. It’ll help give you that edge over other journalists, even if you just have a basic understanding of the language. It’s really useful to play it up. Like last week, I helped him out with the editing process, and wrote up the accompanying web piece for him.
June 20-23 - This was last week. This was QUITE an eventful week. That Wednesday, I had a REALLY good day. First of all, I researched various stories on the Internet, and looked at the various ways people write for the web. This is something I really want to have under my belt before I leave, because it will allow me to be a more well-rounded journalist. Later that day, I met up with one of the web girls to Buffalo Exchange, which is a store that I am SO happy to see in the DC area now. I’m a sucker for thrifty finds at excellent prices. In fact, I even got to shop on the job! After all, it was research. Ahem, but anyway, I took many pictures that accompanied her web piece. Her web piece also ended up being pinned to the Pinterest.
This was also the day that I got my first parking ticket…even though I didn’t deserve it. I know everybody says they don’t deserve a punishment, but this time I was completely innocent. I used a mobile app to pay the meter, and that’s where I learned that technology is completely unreliable…and that it’s always good to have backup receipts. I’m not paying my $25 ticket. I’m in the process of contesting it. I also learned that I never want to get a ticket in the District of Columbia. It’s giving me a headache!
Oh, right. But for every bad thing, there always has to be something good. When I got home from work, I discovered that the College of Communications had rewarded me with a very nice scholarship for the Fall and Spring! Hard work pays off…even if you sometimes slacked off. Nobody got anywhere without slacking off a little, right?
Did I mention that this was the week that it was absolutely sweltering outside? Yeah. It was. And that Thursday was the first time I went out on an assignment by myself. Granted, I was with one other intern, but there were no WTOP staffers with us. We went out to Rockville, Maryland to watch a fireworks safety demonstration. In the sweltering heat. Out in the open sun. Woe, is the life of a journalist. Going out on this assignment allowed the other intern and I to gather audio, conduct interviews and experience fruit blowing up. Yes, you read that right. We watched cantaloupes explode, a watermelon explode, and a mannequin get blown to bits. Fireworks are dangerous, kids. It’s best not to use them near grass, near clothes, on hot days, or without any supervision from a safety professional. Once we got back to the studio, I put together two writearounds. Writearounds are basically readers with one or two bits of audio and nat sound put together. They’re relatively easy to put together.
That Friday, I had a phone interview with Rachel Swarns from the New York Times. I feel really bad because I had a bit of a panic and freakout because I thought I did something wrong with the phone system, so clearly that phone interview started out with a bang. Nerves got the best of me, and I don’t know why. After that little blip, everything went smoothly. She and I discussed her book,American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama. I had been skimming/reading the book before the interview, as well as helping out Jason with more writearounds, this time for the Silverdocs fest. This was multitasking at its finest.
That Saturday, there was more sitting around the office. I learned what a “true Saturday” really looks like at the station. I wrote two more writearounds about mold, edited most of the audio from the interview, made up captions in my head for the cartoons running on some of the stations, and twiddled my thumbs. Intern life is wonderful sometimes.
I’m now starting my fourth week! Time is REALLY flying by. I can’t believe I’m almost done with my first month of my internship!
23 6 / 2012
As a Penn State student, obviously the verdict about Jerry Sandusky’s trial is something that I’ve been trying to keep tabs on.
It has been absolutely crazy the past few months, and especially within the past few days.
As I sit here at work right now, I hear the buzz about Sandusky’s fate and the case from the staffers, the on-air station, and even through Twitter and other social media sites.
How does this pertain to me as an intern in Washington? For starters, in the WTOP Summer Intern Class, I am the only Penn Stater. This station has several PSU alums. At times I’ve felt strange because I know what it was like to be at Penn State when this first broke, and that I’m hearing reactions from people completely outside of my circle. I’m seeing more viewpoints here in Washington. I’m seeing outsider’s reactions to the case.
When the verdict came out, I was out with several Penn Staters, who also had ties to news organizations on-campus, as well as several people who were outsiders to Penn State and what was going on. I kept refreshing Tweetbot on my phone, anxiously waiting to see the verdict. That’s when I found out that Twitter sets a data limit for how many times you can refresh on a mobile device each hour. Luckily, my family at home came through and let me know when something happened, as well as the Associated Press app on my phone. WTOP breaking news texts also came through for me…just a few short minutes after the verdict was announced.
Anyway, just the reactions of the Penn State kids were something that showed that we are truly a unique group of people, brought together by such an awful scandal.
Of course, instead of being in a dorm at George Washington University sipping on a cup of ice water while everyone sipped on beer, I wanted to be in State College. In Bellefonte. At the courthouse to see the reaction of the crowd after they found out the verdict. To see Sandusky leave the courthouse in cuffs, ultimately ending up in the Centre County prison.
Maybe that was just the journalist instinct that I’ve found has been becoming stronger over the past few months. It’s that pang that just wants to be where the big news is.
Ultimately, I’m glad that justice was finally delivered for the 10+ victims that suffered. I think that, if anything, was the big news that everybody was looking forward to.
However, I can’t help but think “What if…?” What if Sandusky was not found guilty on all 48 (formerly 51) charges? What if JoePa was still alive to see this verdict? What if Sandusky had testified? What if he does end up killing himself before he goes to jail? What if there wasn’t some sort of coverup in this whole thing? What if?
I know that there are still going to be several unanswered questions about this whole thing. I know that more will probably come out of this whole thing, if not more victims. Now all that’s left is the trial of Curley and Schultz. Of course, there’s also Sandusky’s sentencing, but that won’t be for a few more months.
In the meantime, that big, black cloud of doom and despair that’s been hanging over Centre County and Happy Valley is starting to disperse. Maybe life will start to return to some sort of normalcy at school. News vans hopefully won’t be a big part of the College Ave. landscape. Of course, I don’t think that the bubble that surrounds Happy Valley will ever be the same again. I don’t think that things will ever really be “normal” at school, especially with everything that’s come out since November.
As for me? I hope that Sandusky does make it to jail, rots there for the rest of his life, gets pecked at by vultures, and that practically being in solitary confinement drives him to insanity. That man is sick. I still can’t believe what he did. I don’t think anybody can.