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.
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.