The day started with a quick breakfast in the hotel before catching the Metro to the House and Senate offices. The group split up with their mentors, after starting their journey at the Cannon building. I stopped off at Jack Kingston‘s office (R-GA) and grabbed the press secretary‘s business card. He is the local House Rep for Valdosta State University. I hadn’t thought to contact him, but reached out to Kingston’s office at Doug Anstaett’s suggestion.
We regrouped at the Rayburn building, where learned that Asha Anchan had a close encounter of the Paul Ryan kind. He brushed past her on the stairway. But that wasn’t the last politician sighting of the day. Most of our students were unable to connect with their Congressmen or Senators. Still we were slated to return later in the day.
We walked over to the Newseum building which was more than a casual stroll, as the cold winds rushed us along. We were greeted by Jim Duff, CEO of Newseum, who hosted lunch for the group. Additionally, Jan Neuharth joined the group and answered questions from attendees. She is the daughter of Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today.
The view of the Capitol was a spectacular backdrop for lunch, as Duff and Neuharth asked questions of the students and mentors and answered ours as well. We posed for photos on the balcony with the amazing view. Keep a watch on the Newseum as they are preparing to make a huge announcement about a new partnership.
After lunch, we made our way to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building for a meeting with the press secretary to Vice President Joe Biden. The press secretary provided us background on the Executive Action items from the Vice President’s office. We learned that the Judiciary Committee advanced a Gun Control bill earlier in the day. As we left the building, we learned that Joe Biden was leaving the building too. We stayed nearby and watched as his caravan pulled out from the Eisenhower building.
We trekked back to the House and Senate buildings to locate our Senators, again. This time Kelsey set up an appointment with Johnny Isackson’s press secretary. We spoke with her for a few minutes and headed to the senate.
The press secretary arranged some tickets for the House and Senate floor. Doug, Kelsey and I sat in the upper seats for a few minutes in the senate proceedings.
That evening, we met at the National Press Club where the National Newspaper Association Foundation members were gathered for dinner and a guest speaker. Ken Paulson is the president and chief executive officer of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University. His speech emphasized that we carry on the tradition of print newspapers, especially community newspapers which are more important given the changes in how news is being delivered to the masses. Paulson reminded us that parent’s still want to see their children’s photos in the paper for local awards or sporting events.
During the evening’s event, we five students were presented to the members of the foundation. Liz Parker provided a certificate to each of us for our participation as News Fellows for the inaugural group in 2013.
The end of our busy day came to a close as we made our way back to the Crystal City Marriott. Personally, I crashed before my computer even booted up that evening.