My Talk at the Washington Center

My trip to the RNC was eventful from start to finish. Just when I thought it was over — another story began.

I boarded Delta 4071 to Atlanta, on my way back covering the Convention for MTV. Next to me was Julie Zimmerman, a Program Advisor, at The Washington Center. I began to tell her about my job as a Citizen Journalist for the Street Team. I was reeling from adrenaline after all the live reports I broadcasted the night before — which I’m sure was illustrated by a permanent grin. By the time we touched down, she asked if I would speak to the fall class of interns at The Center.

“How many are we talking?”
“Nothing big. Just 100 or 200.”

I smiled but cringed inside. “Sure, I’ll do it.”

The day came yesterday, and with a few nerves but no doubt, I showed up with some notes and a flash drive. Before I was set to speak, I was pulled aside by a few of the organizers who each gave me varied interpretations as to what I could or should discuss. It was like a rushed cram session in college with one too many cooks in the kitchen. I took in what everyone had to say, walked myself to a corner and organized my key points in my head.

And just like that I was up.

And I'm good to go. by you.

 

I introduced myself and started asking no-brainer, conversational questions just to get a rise. In my last minute prep, I decided to just go with my favorite subjects: the rise of mobile tech, our generation’s involvement in the election and the unprecedented amount of user-generated content forcing traditional media to address us as an audience.

“Alright, who here has a cell phone? Any journalism majors? Who here has volunteered in the last year in DC or on their respective campus?”

And with a few smiles in the front row, I was in. I talked to them about our millennial movement – and how we are influencing a serious political realignment for the first time in 40 years. But I also told them there are big challenges ahead — like the fact that 8 in 10 young primary voters went to college. Meaning there is a deep civic divide between them and their peers who are not in line for a college education.

Finally, I answered a few great questions and received a polite round of applause. I breathed a sigh of relief, packed my purse and then went outside to hail a cab. 

Like on the plane that morning,, I knew I had a similar grin and the same rush of adrenaline. I sat myself in the cab, looked out the window – and couldn’t help but wonder. Another test completed — and hopefully many more to go.

3 comments

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  1. Debi

    Enjoyed your written story of your speaking engagement but really enjoyed the enthusiasm in your voice as you were telling me the story yesterday! Pinch yourself for me after the amazing few weeks you have had.

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