Speakers on campus

I can’t put into words how amazing it was to see and meet Carol Guzy. She is such an amazing, inspirational person to me and her work is incredibly moving. I was brought to tears as her pictures were shown on the projector, as were almost all of my peers. She is so brave to be going into these places during disaster in order to show the world what it is like to be there, especially for her to do it as a woman. She has faced many dangers and photographed heartbreaking moments but joyful ones as well. Guzy has won the Pulitzer prize multiple times but many of her other works are incredibly famous as well. It was so wonderful to be there as she was told there would be a scholarship in her name of applicants in years to come.

Sonya Ross was also an amazing speaker, she was funny, interactive and an incredibly interesting person. I love seeing female journalists and even more, I love seeing female minorities in any amazing job like hers at the AP. In her talk, she spoke about many other journalists who broke the glass ceiling in order to pave the way for female journalists today.

The Dean of Admissions, Amy Takayama-Perez, did a wonderful of helping me better understand how college admissions work. As someone from the area, I have always heard a lot about this college, I’ve been on the campus but I’ve never had a real tour. I love the campus and plan to apply when the applications come out. Her talk helped put my mind at ease and I’m excited to start college next year.

My speaker during the breakout session was Buzz McCain, a communications manager here at GMU. McCain has worked freelance for most of his career and has been featured in various publications in the DC area. He began as a movie critic as a young man and has done much more since. He has been to the Playboy Mansion and had his butt squeezed by Mr. T, overall that seems like an interesting career to have. I liked the breakout sessions because they were much more intimate and I felt I connected with him better than any other speakers at the conference so far. His advice for us was to marry well and to major in something we are interested in and have a journalism career in that field, as we minor is journalism. I found this advice interesting and it will be something I take into consideration when picking my major and minor.

The last speaker of the night was Greg Watkins, founder of allhiphop.com. Watkins has not had the typical background of other journalists here. Watkins made bad grades in school, had a failed recorded label and was on the verge of bankruptcy many times. He told us to live life on the edge and to avoid drugs and alcohol.

All of the speakers today were very inspirational and helped me become even more excited for what the future has to hold for me.

Nat Geo, Momuments and more!

Today was the day I was looking most forward to on this trip, photojournalism is something I have always wanted to pursue and working with National Geographic would be my dream job. Our speaker, Susan Goldberg is the Editor in Chief at National Geographic. One of the parts I found most interesting was how she showed us the different ways in which the same story is shown across multiple platforms in our digital age. She shared with us many amazing photos and stories, many that I had seen before online or in the magazine, which I have subscribed to for quite some time.

Next we met with Brain Lamb, rather than give us his story, Mr. Lamb got the entire audience to interact and answer questions he gave to us, rather than us asking him questions. Although I never spoke, his questions for other students did get me thinking. I know I have very biased opinions, I come from a small conservative town but I often voice my very liberal opinions to others and I love debating and being asked why I stand for something that many people around me do not.

Jamie Smith was our final speaker of the day. I love hearing her story about all of the different jobs she has had over the course of her career. She has worked alongside many important political leaders, including our president and was there to decide how to tell the public we had killed Bin Laden. She has had a very interesting, eventful and rewarding career and was a wonderful speaker.

Next was our monument tour, which included the World War II Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I have been to DC many times and seen all of these wonderful monuments before but many of my peers have never been here at all. I loved watching how each of them reacted to seeing these places in real life for the first time. As many times as I have seen these places, it is still an amazing experience each time. This was my first time seeing these monuments at sunset and I got many beautiful pictures of the sun going down behind them.

This week has been amazing so far and it’s hard to beileve it’s halfway over. However, I am excited to see what these next few days bring and to make even more wonderful memories.

Newseum and National Press Club

As someone who has lived in Virginia my whole life, I’ve been to almost every museum there is and visited DC many times. But out of all my trips I’ve never visited the Newseum so it was a new experience for me, as well as many of my peers.
We started off on the 9/11 exhibit. I was still in preschool when the event occurred and I don’t remember it well. I’ve always been interested in the event and watch documentaries every year about it. I also just got back from a trip to NYC where I saw the memorial at ground zero. It’s an emotional thing to think about but also a very important event for journalists everywhere. Those people were brave enough to risk their lives in order to get the story and every time we see a new photo or news story, we are taken back to that day to see the world from their view.
My favorite exhibit was the Pulitzer Prize gallery. I was supposed how many there were and that I hadn’t seen more of them before. Even without knowing the context of each photo, you are overwhelmed by emotions when looking at each one. They document events that we tend to be too scared to talk about, which is maybe why I’ve only seen a few in my textbooks. These candid photos show real, raw emotion taken from a person experiencing an event; it is through these faces that we can put ourselves in someone else’s shoes to see the world from a new perspective. Photojournalism is something I have always wanted to peruse and my dream would be to one day have one of my photos win a Pulitzer and be shown at the Newseum.


Our next stop was the National Press Club for the political panel and keynote speaker, Terry Anderson. I have been very involved in the news lately due to the election. In Virginia, one can vote in the primary election as long as they will be 18 years old by the election in November, which is exactly what I did. In my school, government is not taught until senior year so I had to teach myself a lot. I love being educated on the issues and having discussions with others. This panel allowed me to witness that firsthand and allowed my fellow correspondents and I ask tough questions.                                                               As soon as I got the email about Terry Anderson I was instantly interested to here him speak. Terry lives just one county over from me and it is crazy to think that he was kidnapped for so long and came back to retire in a small town in Virginia. He was an amazing speaker and I plan on reading his book as soon as I get the chance. He is proof that journalism can be a dangerous job but it is one that has to be done. I was absolutely amazed when Terry said that his daughter went back, years later, to talk to one of her father’s prison guards. This taught me that journalists must be brave and willing to do what it takes for a great story.