Today has been EXTREMELY eventful! There were so many speakers planned throughout the day and we were going to work on a Washington Post simulation in our color groups. We were staying on campus all day, so we were allowed to dress in relaxed professional outfits, which was nice. I met up with my friends and we had breakfast together like always, and (shocker) the dining hall food this morning was actually good!
After breakfast, we all went to our color group rooms, in the Johnson Center, for our Washington Post simulation. The idea was for us to plan the front page of a future Washington Post newspaper. Three of us were assigned head editing roles, and the rest of the group picked what they wanted to be the editors of. The options they could choose from were local, national, features, sports, politics, or business editor roles. Depending on what role they picked, determined what (fake) story they had to write an article about. In addition to writing an article, they had to come up with a headline and a graphic to go with it. My faculty advisor assigned me the role of Managing Editor before I got there, so everyone had to present their stories to me at our fake “2 P.M. Meeting,”and then I had to give them advice on how to improve their stories, so they would have a chance of me picking it for the front page of the newspaper at our fake “6 P.M. Meeting.” They would then, go back and fix whatever I told them to, and then we would all meet for the fake “6 P.M. Meeting,” where they would re-pitch their stories, and the other head editors and I would decide which ones should make the front page of The Washington Post.I know you are probably really confused about what I just wrote, but it is pretty hard to explain the simulation in words.
Later, we headed to the cinema to hear Carol Guzy, a Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photojournalist, speak and give a presentation. I was really looking forward to listening to Guzy because she has won FOUR Pulitzer Prize’s, which is INSANE! She is so inspiring and has captured many historic events through the lens on her camera. I couldn’t wait to see what she would tell us. One thing Guzy said that stood out to me was, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, get closer.” This made me realize that I need to stop being scared of going for what I want to get footage of, and that I just need to go for it. She also, talked about all of the people she’s lost in her life, and all of the tragedies she’s witnessed. I really respect her because she told the whole audience that the only thing keeping her sane is therapy. I loved that she mentioned this, because I suffer from some mental health problems, one being anxiety, so I’ve had my fair share of therapy, and I hate that there is such a stigma around mental health and going to therapy. She literally told 300 people she has never met before, that she has PTSD, which I found very admirable. In all honesty, she wasn’t the best speaker, but that didn’t take away the fact that she has an amazing eye for photo composition and that she has a lot of wisdom. After her speech, we watched a 30 minute compilation of her most famous photos from Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti, and much more. The slideshow had most of the room in tears when we were only half way through it because the photos were so graphic.
After Guzy’s presentation, we ate lunch and then went back to the cinema for a college admissions session. Amy Takayana-Perez, the Dean of Admissions at George Mason University, spoke to us for an hour about the admissions process, and tips for applying. I really liked how she explained the different application deadlines (early decision, early action, rolling), and gave us the inside scoop on what admissions boards look at first, and what they don’t look at. Overall, she was very helpful and even surprised us by waiving our application fee if we apply to George Mason in the fall, and promising us a WJMC scholarship if we end up going to GMU. I didn’t think I would even consider George Mason University before today, but I am definitely considering it now.
Our next speaker was Kevin McCarthy, an Entertainment Reporter on Fox & Friends. I was so excited for him to speak because I obviously love the broadcasting side of journalism, which he is greatly involved in. He name dropped A LOT. He told us many stories of interviews he has done with huge celebrities like Ellen Degeneres, Ryan Reynolds, Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford, and more. At first it was cool, but after a while it kind of felt like he was bragging. He did give us a ton of tips on how to succeed in journalism. He told us to be persistent, ask questions, and do as many internships as possible. It was really helpful when he said, “Someone can give you a path, but if you don’t put in work, you won’t make it.” That was just such a relevant comment that can be used when trying to succeed in anything. I liked how enthusiastic his whole speech was and I found him to be a very interesting person.
We then got to pick which speaker we wanted to hear next, off of a list of about 12 people in the journalism field. I chose to go see Ian Bush, an Anchor, Reporter, and News Editor for KYW Newsradio. I was super excited to meet him because I had grown up listening to him on the radio in my grandparents car. He is from Philadelphia and attended Villanova, which I thought was awesome. His presentation had some of the best audio and effects I have seen from a speaker, so far. He told us all about his job and gave us cool secrets about the radio. I also, and the opportunity to ask him some questions and speak with him. I told him I was from Royersford, and he immediately lit up because he knew exactly where it was, and he began talking to me about all of the places near it. He also told me he would help find me a college that has a good broadcast journalism program, and he told me he could get his friend on the GMU admissions board to help me as well. Bush gave me his business card and told me to contact him, so he could help. I already had a dream college in mind (Elon University), but if he can find me an even better college, than that would be amazing! He is one of my favorite speakers from the conference.
Our last speaker of the day was Charles Bramesco, the Staff Writer for Rolling Stones. I was excited going into his speech because Rolling Stones is a really unique magazine, so I figured he must be a cool guy. I was SO wrong. This was actually the worst speech of the week. Everyone around me was on their phones, and paying absolutely no attention because he was super bland, and didn’t really say anything helpful. I spoke to my fellow correspondents after, and they said they were about to fall asleep because they were that bored. The rest of the speakers were good today, so I’m okay with not enjoying this one too much.
I can’t believe there are only two days left! I’ve been having a great time, and I never want WJMC to end!