Staff switchup

I was tasked with updating the staff information page today, which meant I had to upload a photo to a staff member’s information box and then create another box to hold another staff member’s information and future picture. It was pretty easy work, except that I forgot a few steps such as saving the picture to both the local and remote server. My superviser had to reshow me some basic steps, though considering it was only my second time to do so I think it went well. To view the Web site, it is

I attended my first presidential lecture yesterday on the economy. It took place at the Department of the Interior and is the first of many in the presidential lecture series. Today, I met with Congressment John Boozman of Arkansas’ 3 district. I will have more of those later …

Up next: Watching Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress.

A Night of Firsts

Driving Johnny's SUV
Driving Johnny’s SUV

I officially got to drive in Virginia last night! I must say, it was awesome! My roommates, Sheila and Caylah, and I went to Nicks, a karoake and linedancing bar, with Sheila’s old friend Johnny. It was a pretty neat place, and apparently the hangout for people stationed at Fort Myers. Yes, I actually sang karoake and linedanced-both firsts for me. And, it was actually fun too.

Johnny and I joked early in the night that I was going to drive us home, and amazingly he was serious. He let me drive a few miles (even on the highway) before Caylah began freaking out-apparently she does not like women drivers. I really do not know what her problem was.

I did, however, learn that Fort Myers has a newspaper-something I am going to have to learn more about sometime soon.

It was also the first night that we had a roommate go missing. Ever, our Mexican roommate, went to hang out with co-workers last night. She still was not back by the time we got home at 1 a.m. and today, we found out that she got drunk and fell asleep on the metro while heading home. She got off at the wrong stop, wandered around the metro stop, and ended up having an old man help her get a taxi home. She was lucky it was a decent older man. I hate it, but I did everything I could do without going excessive. It was a lesson Ever needed to learn.

The moral of this story-we need a better system for keeping track of each other, though I am not sure how we are going to do this.  Thankfully, we learned this lesson without anyone getting hurt.

An Eye for An Eye

If you were blinded by acid by a rejected suiter, should he be given the same treatment?

In Iran, this could simply be the case for one man who blinded a woman for rejecting his marriage proposals. He stalked her, threw acid in her face purposely and has seen refused to show remorse. Even worse, this is not a rare incident. This happens often, and usually the men are able to get off with paying “blood money” to the victims in lieu of a harsher penalty.

I understand the civil right’s arguments that this is against the man’s human rights, but did he think of this when he was the one throwing acid? I doubt it. The woman is saying that she is not doing this for revenge, but to possibly stop other acid attacks from happening. I hate to say it, but I have to agree. It is violent, but throwing people in prison and/or making them pay money is not working-ask the other victims of acid attacks or look in today’s overflowing prisons.

The man’s punishment could be carried out within the next few weeks, and he will be given acid drops into each eye.

To read more on this article (which you should), go to

Third place

I recently found out that I received third place in Best of the South: College Journalist of Year at the 23rd annual Southeast Journalism Conference, which took place Feb. 12-14. It’s pretty cool.

There were 10 eligible entries and the conference was attended several universities from seven different states: Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

To see who else won, the Web site is

A glimpse into the past

Statue outside The National Archives
Statue outside The National Archives

The National Archives was showing the document for only four days, Feb. 12-16, in honor of the Lincoln’s 200th birthday. While Lincoln is not my favorite president ( F Roosevelt is), it was still interesting to see the document. Here’s a picture of it.

The Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamation

We had to wait outside for around 45 minutes, where we talked to two students from Georgetown University, before we were able to get inside the museum. The security guard was unsure on whether to believe it was only a cough drop in my mouth-I had to show her, and once inside we had to wait another 45 minutes. However, I did get to look at the Magna Carta during my wait and search for the 9 eagles hidden inside the rotunda.

The Magna Carta
The Magna Carta

After the long afternoon, during which it briefly snowed twice, Caylah and I were finally able to make it back to the metro station to head home.

Waiting for the train with Caylah
Waiting for the train with Caylah

Taste of India

I tried Indian food today for lunch. My supervisor treated me and two other co-workers to lunch for one of the lady’s birthday. She is 28-years-old and it was a great lunch. Plus, I learned I like the food, especially the bread.

It was just another day at work today. I finished editing the special events booklet that another intern asked me to proof. I made so many edits that I am surprised she did not hit me, but it was a fun project. Tomorrow, I am to start training on how to put documents in PDF form for the Web and I will be getting more small Web assignments next week when one of the Web contractors is back in the office. I am slowly working on story assignments and today the president’s secretary asked me if I could help her edit the intern’s guide. I am just trying to keep busy and not look slouching so I was happy to agree.

The non-profit hosts a volunteer night every Wednesday and tomorrow I will be helping them out for the first time. It will be interesting, but unfortunately that means I will not be getting home until around 10:30 p.m. It is going to be a long day tomorrow. Starting this week or next I will also be starting my volunteer work for The Washington Center. I am hoping to work with the Greater DC program and volunteer with a group that entertains children while their mothers get counseling. It interested me the most.

In the news, I was interested to find that Bristol Palin held an interview recently to discuss her pregnancy. She said she is wanting to advocate against teen pregnancy, and I have to say, I admire her for it. It was interesting to see that she was willing to stand against her mother’s abstinence stance and say that it is just not realistic. I have to agree, especially since HealthDay News reported, on Jan. 7,  the first increase in the teen birth rate in 15 years.

The rate increased in 26 states in 2006, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and raised from 40.5 births to 41.9 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 from 2005 to 2006, based on 99-percent of all U.S. birth certificates.

Along with Bristol, Sarah Palin also made an appearance according to the CNN article to say that her daughter was a great at her new role, and that her grandson was lucky to have Bristol for a mom. While I am not the biggest fan of Palin, I give up thumbs up for her support.

A Wonderful Day

Friday the 13th must be losing its horror points because today has been a wonderful day. I have uploaded my first updated Web page,, to the PHA Web site, and it was a surprisingly easy task to do. It was also a  pretty fun assignment. Dreamweaver 8 was not as hard to use as I thought it would be originally, though it did come in handy that I had all my notes available from when I went through Dreamweaver’s tutorial.

Working at PHA is actually growing on me-I love it. I left work today with several assignments waiting for me first thing on Tuesday and my supervisor has more to assign me as well. I love that. I am currently working on researching the background on some story ideas that my co-workers came up with.

I am also helping a fellow intern edit a guide book that we give out. I would not usually help edit the guide, but since I am a journalism major she figured I might catch more errors than she would. I think I am going just a little overboard with the editing, though I am trying to reign back a little bit. I have not finished the editing yet, but I will see next week what they think.

Tonight the roommates and I are ordering Chinese and hanging out at the apartment. So far, we have ordered the food and sang/dance to 80s and 90s songs. Fun, fun!

To anyone that actually reads this: Have a great Valentine’s Day!

My first PH assignment

Today was the best day I have had at work, at least so far. I received my first PHA assignment-updating the site map on the PHA Web site. It was fun, and exciting. It was also easier than I thought it would be-so that was a relief.

Basically, the assignment required me to make a copy of the Web page in Dreamweaver 8 and update the links to include new ones added. I also needed to delete links no longer needed, and change the layout to become more user friendly. It took me all day to finish, but that is including several meetings throughout the day and you have to take into count that this is my first Web page to ever work with. This is my first time to work with Dreamweaver as well.

The page is already finished and edited by my supervisor. So all I have to do is make some changes-which is very few might I add-and I will be done. Yay!

The day was also a success in our meetings as well. My supervisor and I gathered several story ideas from one of PHA’s various departments and the ideas are pretty great. It was like an early birthday present! I am already ready to start working on the stories-which are a mix of hard and easy to do stories. What are they about you might being wondering? Well, I will let you know when I have them finished. 🙂

My class, Press, Politics and Power, met for the second time Wednesday night. I can tell already that I am going to like it. We discussed Monday night’s The Kalb Report first, starting with advise given to the audience by the guests, such as Ali Velshi. Velshi said, “It’s smarter for a nation to save two years to buy a TV than buy a TV and pay for it for two years.”

The show’s guests gave us the example of how the three circles of New York City (money, media), Hollywood (entertainment) and Washington, D.C., (politics, power) are interlinking. The guests were knowledgable, all of new media, and had to mix entertainment (well, the broadcasters) into their talk of politics and power. They were also quick at retorts as well. Velshi answered one guy, who asked why the media did not warn the public that the economical problem was about to occur, with “If I was a weatherman saying it was going to be 10 degrees outside, it is up to you to put on your long-johns” and hat.

Moving forward with that topic, we discussed the media’s role in society- to inform the public, while the public’s job is to weigh it and decide what they think. It was an interesting class topic, I have to say.

One of our final topic of the class, beside’s Arthur Miller’s “The Arts of Politics and Performance,” was current events in D.C. My professor had to remind us of the phrase “inside the beltway.” It means basically, in the words of my professor, “We are in the Washington bubble now-everything tends to revolve around the issue of the day and everything else  just slips in.”

With this is mind, we had to analysis whether Obama was having a good or bad week. I, at first, said good, but I was thinking outside of the beltway. Looking in, I would have to say it was a bad week. It could be considered a good week if you think of the fact that the stimulus package was approved. But, as we went into further detail, one could easily to change their mind.

The plan was approved but it lost style points in that it was not bipartisan as Obama promised-the GOP was doing some impressive press conferences. Also the class reminded students to remember interconnectivity. Treasury secretary Tim Geithner gave a horrible news conference. Sure it was his first conference, which one girl said should give him some leeway in judgement. However, I want to know why?

Geithner is a politician. He knows how to do a press conference, he has before. Also, Geithner had a lot to overcome-I mean first impressions in his new position. His failure to pay taxes has not been forgotten, and he has to overcome that lack of forgetfullness and prove that he is up for the job. He failed.

The point of this is, if Geithner has a bad day, Obama has a bad day. Geithner definitely had a bad day.

I have to admit I am pretty disappointed the class is cancelled for next week. I am looking forward to our next lesson and discussion. Next on the agenda: “Political Persuasion-Defining Audience, Message and Timing.” We will be discussing Drew Westen’s “The Political Brain.”

My first field trip

My first field trip for Press, Politics and Power was to The National Press Club to watch The Kalb Report. The Kalb Report, which is a series of forums on journalism and public policy, is co-sponsored by The George Washington Global Media Institute, The Shorenstein Center at Harvard University, and The National Press Club.

Tonight’s program was “The Business of Business Reporting” and featured Alexis Glick of Fox Business Network; Diana Henriques of The New York Times; Steve Pearlstein of The Washington Post; and Ali Velshi of CNN. The Kalb Report is moderated by Marvin Kalb.

I have to admit that I did enjoy the show. My seating probably helped me to enjoy it more as well. I was in the second row off to the right side, so I could see and hear each of them, though I might not have seen Pearlstein every time he answered. I was also in a perfect seat to watch the floor director as she qued Kalb into and out of the show. It was fascinating to watch her command the floor and get everyone into place, hold the time cards and to watch everyone in their various duties.

The show mainly focused on whether journalists did a poor job on covering our current economic situation and how we got to it. And to sum it all up, the panelists pretty much said it was 50-50. They said that while many journalists did warn, others were not.

I found my interest was mostly in the information I gathered about their jobs when they spoke.

At one point in the dialogue, Kalb pressed his guests about how they check their facts, especially Velshi who Kalb said appeared on air frequently. Velshi said that while he is not able to make calls, he has to read up on information and that all CNN reporters and staff share gathered information with each other so everyone has the most updated information. He also has a system to leave the latest news with whoever is taking over for him and vice versa.

Glick said that she starts at 4 a.m. to read through 200 plus papers to be prepared for her workday, which begins at 7 a.m. I believe she said. She said that she has to read hundreds of paper because she has to know everything to ask the tough questions. Answering Kalb on how she finds time to read hundreds of papers each day, she said you learn to speed-read.

It was slightly sad though that Velshi said that TV’s audience forgives them for the rare/occasional mistake he or other broadcasters might make when hurrying to gather news out. This is sad, before a reporter says/writes anything-he needs to check his facts no matter how much pressure he is under to get the story on air. It is still false reporting, though Velshi said that he does tell his producers, who are pressuring him to get on air with a breaking story, that he will when he understands what is happening.

For upcoming journalists, all the panelists said that we should study up on our history, because as Pearlstein said, history tends to repeat itself.  It was also suggested that we understand/study political science as well.

Besides the show, I was also fascinated with the girl I walked to The National Press Club with and sat beside. She is originally from Alaska, but has lived the past few years in Paris and Cambridge. A journalist, she studied in Paris and feel in love with the city. The 26-year-old stayed there once her study abroad time was up and has been making it basically on her own. She was out of excuses on reasons to stay there, so she said she came to The Washington Center to help find a new reason to go back.

Her life experience is amazing because she is doing what I would love to do: live abroad and, of course, write. It has definitely given me extra encouragement to make sure I accomplish my own goals of eventually living overseas-if only for a little while. I know I have semi-accomplished this by living in Canterbury, England, during my study abroad, but I would like to go again.

Another little side note worth mentioning is the homeless man on the metro coming home. For the whole train ride home-around 20 minutes-he serenaded himself with not one, but two harmonicas-one red and one blue. I say this because he played and spoke to himself while staring intently in the train’s window, which is very reflective might I add. He even had a book on Judy Garland to reference his work to. I think he was very impressed by his performance because he was getting into his music and talking about how he got to this point in his music. I have to admit, I couldn’t stop watching-it was interesting.

Just a little walk

We started off our day with a walk to Target. It was only 2-miles away and we were determined to get there. It was an interesting walk. Ever, Sheila and I talked the whole time while Caylah lagged behind. See below:

Sheila while waiting for Caylah to catch up
Sheila while waiting for Caylah to catch up
Ever and I waiting for Caylah
Ever and I waiting for Caylah
Caylah walking along behind us
Caylah walking along behind us

We also saw a dead deer along the way at a gas distrubution building-it was sad. It was behind a fence, and we almost did not see it. To take our mind off it, we discussed Ever’s English. She learned three new words yesterday: crutches, trip (as in to fall) and scale (to weigh yourself on). We finally got tired of walking when we decided to call Target.  While I was calling, I had Caylah ask a passing man if Target was closed and he screamed “no” at her. It was funny, only … we really were not going in the right direction. We walked two and a half miles in the opposite direction and ended up at Shady Grove-the next metro stop over. We ended up taking the metro to Twinbrooks-the station right before Rockville. It was a only one to two minute ride there-it was depressing. Here is a picture of us waiting for the train at Shady Grove.

Waiting at the metro station
Waiting at the metro station

Once at Twinbrook, it was a surprisely short and easy trip to Target. After the Target adventure, we ended up spending the rest of the day at home. I am not feeling so great-and apparently not looking so great since two of my roommates keep saying I looked “flushed.” The highlight of our day was when Ever came back from her date with Brendon. It was her second successful date with him after meeting him Friday night when we went out with some TWC guys. Caylah and I met him again last night when he met Ever and us at the movies to see “He’s Just Not That Into You.” It was a great movie, by the way.