Another day at the Washington Journalism and Media Conference (WJMC) here at George Mason University (GMU) means another day of fun, life lessons, and learning about the profession I’m hoping to pursue. We stayed on campus all day Wednesday, but that sure didn’t take away from any of the fun or learning! If you haven’t already read my recaps on days one, two, and three of the conference, you can read them here, here, and here! Without further adieu, let’s get into my Wednesday at GMU for WJMC!
I accidentally overslept and woke up at 7:20 a.m. I wasn’t late, I just didn’t have as much time to get ready as I wanted to. I got ready super quickly, rushed a breakfast of Cheerios in the dining hall, and met my color group at 8:15 a.m. At this time our color groups had short meetings so we could each be assigned our news outlet for our simulation. These outlets included the New York Times, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, and CNN (which was mine). After we were assigned our news outlet, everyone went to the room assigned to their outlet.
Each outlet was made up of approximately twenty-five correspondents, a faculty advisor, and a junior faculty advisor. We were taught about the formatting of the stories we would be reporting depending on the outlet we were assigned. For example, I was part of CNN, so I learned how to format and perform a broadcasted report, while someone who was part of the New York Times learned how to write and format a newspaper cover page. We were given five pieces of fake news (as in it isn’t true, but we were supposed to treat it like it was) and were told to pick four to cover. My partners in this simulation were a couple girls from my color group who I hadn’t really hung out with thus far, so this was an awesome way for me to get to know and connect with them. This simulation was also a really neat chance to see what working in a news room might actually be like.
After our time to put together our reports ended at 10:40 a.m., we returned to our color group meeting rooms to present these reports to our entire color group. I hate presenting, no matter where I am, so I was really nervous about this, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be! I was really proud of myself and my color group for how we formulated such professional sounding reports as amateurs with a time constraint. Once all of the outlet groups within our color group finished presenting, we walked to lunch in the GMU dining hall.
I sat at lunch with a couple friends and ate cheese pizza, quesadillas, and homemade chips (super healthy, well balanced meal, right?). Once we finished eating, we refilled our water bottles and shared a few laughs before meeting with our color group outside of the dining hall. From there we walked to the Cinema to hear from our faculty advisor panel and Nicole Livas. The faculty advisor panel was made up of our color group leaders, who mostly work in journalism education in high school. The faculty advisors gave us a lot of awesome answers to our questions, especially on how to fight back against unjust censorship of high school publications. Nicole Livas’ speech was really good, I could feel her passion for journalism. Nicole Livas anchored four weekday evening newscasts on the WAVY and Fox 43 TV in Norfolk. She emphasized that real drive and love for journalism will lead you to success, you shouldn’t count on making a living in one field, and the importance of networking in the field. After Nicole Livas’ presentation we returned to our assigned groups for a color group meeting.
In our color group meeting, we discussed our experiences during the simulation along with our thoughts and questions on the panel and Nicole Livas’ presentation. After the color group meeting we walked to the dining hall for dinner at 5:00 p.m.
For dinner, I had some pizza and chips along with a homemade Twix bar. After dinner we had about half an hour of free time, so I returned to my room and rested for a little. We met up as a color group outside the dining hall at 6:05 p.m. to walk together to the Johnson Center where we would hear from our next speakers, Amy Takayama-Perez a breakout speaker of choice, and Meghan ATB Reese.
Amy Takayama-Perez is the Dean of Admissions here at George Mason University. In her speech, she highlighted things that you should look at when applying for college and what colleges will really look at when considering you. Amy Takayama-Perez also told us that if we apply to George Mason University as WJMC alumni, the $70 application fee will be waived and we will be eligible to apply for a scholarship that’s only offered to students who have attended summer conferences here at GMU.
After Amy Takayama-Perez’s presentation, we went to the rooms assigned to the breakout speaker we chose. I chose to see Jennifer Keohane. Dr. Jennifer Keohane is the Assistant Professor of the Department of Communication at George Mason University and previously served on the Board of Directors for the Rhetoric Society of America. In her presentation, she explained the extensions of our freedom of press rights as journalists according to many famous Supreme Court cases. Jennifer Keohane is so sweet and fun to hear from, I loved her presentation!
Finally, we got to hear from Meghan ATB Reese. Meghan ATB Reese serves as the conference photographer for WJMC, but she does lots of work in the photography, film, and journalism fields including producing and writing for National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, History Channel, Smithsonian Channel, A&E, Animal Planet, HGTV, Investigation Discovery, Discovery Family, PBS, Sony/IMAX’s 3Net 3D films, Capital TV Pakistan, the White House, and the Department of State. Meghan ATB Reese’s presentation was without a doubt one of my favorites thus far. She explained that she knew from the time she was in elementary school that she wanted to be a journalist, so she majored in journalism, had a long list of internships for well known news outlets, and landed her dream job. It was then that she realized she was unhappy as a journalist, and ended up taking some jobs in the photography and filmography businesses. This ultimately led her to becoming the freelance photographer/videographer that she is today. This showed me that it’s okay to follow your own path and change your mind, which is so reassuring for a rising junior like myself.
After Meghan ATB Reese’s presentation ended around 10:00 p.m., we returned to our suites. I then showered, worked on my blog post, and went to bed.
Thanks for reading! Come back tomorrow morning for my WJMC day five recap and follow me on Instagram @apocketfuloffaith here so you can see pictures from my day in real time via posts and my story!