Tuesday, September 07, 2004

First work day in Washington

At 3 p.m. I found myself watching Joe Lieberman and John McCain speaking about the 9-11 Commission from the floor of the Senate, while my credentials for press access to the Capitol were being processed. Today I officially started the Politics & Journalism Semester, a program that gives 14 students in the world a chance to attend seminars with some of the biggest names in politics and journalism while working at a D.C. news bureau full time. At 20, I'm the youngest member of the fall class.
My assignment is Media General, which owns newspapers and television stations in the Southeast. My work here will feed to their newspapers, specifically to the smaller papers that would otherwise be less represented since they don't have their own Washington correspondents.
After getting a badge at the Capitol, one of my mentors at Media General took me to the National Press Club, the most prestigious press club in the world, where media people hobnob over dinners and drinks. My news bureau paid for my membership at the club, which is located in the National Press Building, one floor above my bureau. I met national political analyst Mark Shields in the library.
As for my bureau, I lucked out and got a corner office with a door, a couch and a window three blocks from the White House. I'm used to being the nomadic intern without a desk or a beat. Just working in Washington is amazing enough, but today has just been surreal. What a way to welcome a Folly Beach girl to the Washington rat race.

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