Friday, June 6, 2014

We the ASME Interns...

We the ASME interns of the United States of America, in Order to create a more perfect magazine, establish Truth, insure Freedom of Press, provide for the public…
Oh, is that not how the U.S. Constitution goes? My intertwining mix of journalism and exposure to Washington, DC, in the short span of two weeks, has gotten to me.
And it’s a good thing.
Just as every cliché graduation speech ever written says, Oh the Places You’ll Go, by Dr. Seuss, rings true—a few years ago I would have never imagined myself interning and living for a summer in the nation’s capital, a city full of intelligent and hard-working young professionals.

A place that’s a microcosm of the entire world.

The world we live in is a fascinating, ever-evolving place, changing with every heartbeat and bustling with new, traditions and fads—a concept spot-on for journalism. I’m a person who truly believes in being a lifelong learner, which is the main reason I chose to be a journalist. And also, the main philosophy behind my decision to apply to be an ASME intern.

At Washingtonian magazine, interns matter. Walking out of the office after a full, exhausting (but rewarding) day proves it. I’m not getting coffee for anyone (besides myself, because they have an endless supply of coffee and tea in the breakroom—which is awesome), but researching, fact checking, writing and uploading content on the Web Site (wait, that’s not AP Style—it’s Washingtonian style), sending emails, and interviewing sources.
I’ve already had to muster my way through pronouncing kukhora ko sekuwa to a Nepalese cook and learning what ingredients are in the Italian dish aubergines croquantes.

While the food reviews are light-hearted and fun, my platter of stories doesn't contain the same ingredients. I’ve spent hours researching e-cigarettes and vaping, it’s mechanics, and legislation. 

Currently on a deadline that ends next week, everyone in the newsroom is pressured and working tirelessly to make sure every story is flawless for the July edition that comes out at the end of June. 

I’m used to cranking out a daily newspaper for the Daily Iowan, where stories are written and published within hours of each other. Switching to the monthly publication has shown me the extensive amount of work, and careful attention each and every story gets.

But first, let me take a selfie.
Immersing yourself into a new environment, to a place you’ve only read about in U.S. history books and seen televised during the State of the Union addresses, isn’t easy. In fact, it’s hard, and a bit surreal.

But who else could possibly be better for the challenge than a journalist?
I have learned you must be curious and go beyond your comfort zone into the bridges of unfamiliarity.

And I’ve already learned, and adapted, to several things so far: Don’t stand on the left side of the escalator, especially in the morning when exiting the metro, or you will get trampled. Pop is only referred to as soda. Pancheros doesn't exist, and always bring your umbrella.

Although, one question still remains. Where are all the cornfields?

Oh yeah, I’m not in Iowa anymore. Although the hot, muggy weather from the city built on a swamp, feels like Iowa, the White House a few blocks from my office building and Capitol building looming in the distance, tell me otherwise.

In high school my mother gave me a plaque that says “leap fearlessly.” I packed it up and took it to college, and something inside of me said to stuff it in my (three) already overflowing suitcases to DC.

And this summer that’s exactly what I plan to do. Leap fearlessly.

I’m looking forward to writing, reporting, exploring, living, learning, and tackling new adventures in the upcoming months.

I can’t wait to see what’s in store.

Dora Elizabeth Grote, University of Iowa, Washingtonian 
Edited by Alexis Reliford, Northwestern State University of Louisiana, ESSENCE

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