Monday, March 30, 2009

Education is a right!

The week started off with a bang with a Call to Action event. March 24th was the National Student Lobby Day and Rally. Groups members from the US Student Association and the Student Labor Action Project along with hundreds of students (including myself) marched up to Capitol Hill demanding protections for workers and students and an affordable higher education for all. It felt great to actually advocate for issues students are concerned about.

As March Madness is well underway, I’m sure many people have their picks of which team they want to win the championship. For women’s basketball, I picked UCONN to win it all (sorry Oklahoma), but one of favorite teams is Maryland. One of the locations for the first round games was in Maryland at the Comcast Center, where the Maryland Terps play their home games. I got a chance to go and watch Villanova vs. Utah and Maryland vs. Dartmouth. Thanks to my RA Chazzy--she was able to get tickets to the game. Both games were exciting, especially watching the Maryland game. They won by almost 30 points! The University of Maryland campus is huge, with over 34,000 students enrolled. That was the biggest campus I’ve been on.

I also had a great time recently in Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. The museum is filled with wax sculptures of politicians and celebrities. The museum wasn’t free, but with half-price discounts it was well worth the experience.
My semester in Washington DC has been amazing. There’s never really been a dull moment here. I remember a guest speaker saying to never use the b-word…. bored, and I have still yet say it. Besides getting used to the cold weather that still lingers in March (and I’m sure into April), I am enjoying my stay in DC. The culture here is rich in diversity. Events, activities and attractions are accessible around the clock in DC--something to serve everyone’s interest. And knowing that I’m in the nation’s capital, an historic place, and could have a chance to see the president, first lady, vice president, members of congress and and other government officials at any moment is such a great feeling.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

TODAY this is Erica

Which is what I say when I pick up the phone at my new internship with NBC's the TODAY Show. My final day at Tribune was Friday the 13th (yikes) and I started interning with the today show that following Monday. The new job has been a learning experience and so far so good. My responsibilities at the today show are to help with newsgathering, production, logging and dubbing tapes and to assist with interviews.

In comparison with Tribune, I would say the one disadvantage at the Today Show is due to a union contract interns can’t touch or operate production equipment. I can still write news stories; it will just be more difficult to put them together to complete my demo reel. I started a demo reel with Tribune that consists of two new stories that I’ve done, with stand-ups in the studios of Tribune and at the White House. But the Today Show will provide a greater chance to go out in the field with the reporters during actual news events. Overall I’m sure interning with the Today Show will be a great experience.

I recently went out to Capitol Hill with my supervisor to watch a live hit done by Senator Judd Gregg from New Hampshire. Matt Lauer from the today show in New York held the interview. Senator Gregg basically discussed his view points on how he thinks President Obama’s budget plan would burden the government with greater debt. Even though the headquarters of the Today Show is located in New York, the show also has a bureau in DC. The Today Show in DC covers more political and congressional news and events; whereas the show in New York covers more regional news events. Also some news events that are done in DC by the Today Show are sent to be aired by the NY bureau.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Not So Good News

A little over a week ago I was hit with some not so good news. My internship site, Tribune Broadcasting, is closing down their Washington bureau. That day at work was pretty strange. When I went into work (it was a Friday), I noticed everyone was there, which was out of the norm because typically everyone works different shifts. I sat at my desk as usual and saw that they were gathering for a meeting in the conference room. Usually, meetings are at about 5 pm each day, and are held to discuss the rundown of the news events. The other intern and I are allowed to sit in those meetings. During this meeting, though, they didn’t need me to attend.

Two very professional people I never seen before also showed up for the meeting. I continued sitting at my desk while doing some logging and wondering what was going on. Well, after about 20 minutes the meeting was over. My coworkers came out the room with a completely different expression on their faces. Some went to their offices to use the phones and some left the building. The mood felt really weird, and it was so quiet I could hear a pin drop. I noticed everyone was no longer doing any work and I was starting to get concerned. After a while, my supervisor explained the situation to me; everyone had two weeks before the place would be closed down.

He informed me that for the next two weeks I should get as much done as I could to put together my demo reel. He and my other coworkers were willing to continue to work with me in finishing my projects and learning as much as possible in the next two weeks. I felt really thankful for that, but felt sad too. I had just witnessed them basically losing their jobs and felt helpless.

The bureau closing also means I’ll be out of an internship, which sucks too. I really liked Tribune, the employees and enjoyed everything I worked on and learned from. For about a month, from beginning to end, it was a learning process, and I was looking forward to doing bigger projects and making more progress with Tribune. I’m very thankful for having had the opportunity to intern with Tribune, and I wish all of its employees the best.

For me, the hunt for another internship has been ongoing. My Washington Center program advisor has been doing a great job in her search, and we hope to land an internship soon. The past week has been a bit frustrating, but I’ve been taking these things--good and bad--as a learning experience (taking the advice I received at our initial TWC orientation). So, I’m sure things will work out for the best.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Pardon me; allow me to re-introduce myself… My name is Erica Taylor. I’m from Houston, Texas, another great big city. :) I’m a senior student at Rogers State University, in Claremore, Oklahoma (near Tulsa). I love sports (my favorite being basketball), traveling to new places and meeting new people.

I applied for The Washington Center because I figured it would be the best way to discover what area I wanted to continue studying in. At a crossroads between Biology and Communications, I felt TWC would be the best way to go. Currently, my major is Communications: Radio & Television. I knew I qualified for the program requirements, so I gave it a shot, thinking “hey, it won't hurt to try”.... and I was accepted! Thanks, to our campus liaison, Dr. Carolyn Taylor, for making this opportunity available to students at RSU.

Adapting to DC life has been a gradual process. The biggest thing I've had to get used to in DC is the weather. It gets really cold here compared to Houston. But that doesn’t slow me down a bit. I enjoy sightseeing, touring and capturing every moment with my camera any chance I get.

Now back to our regular scheduled program :)

Wow, a whole month has gone by since I first arrived in DC. Time flies when you’re having fun. A day at the National Geographic Society museum was great. The afternoon was spent looking at the prehistoric artifacts, scientific findings and different cultures. There was so much to see, but didn’t have enough time to view it all.

The mouth of a giant Great White Shark

Huge crystal

Every other weekend, the communication interns have what I call "Sunday dinners." We meet up with our advisor at a good but cheap restaurant, eat and discuss how things are going. Our last dinner meeting was at a restaurant called BD’s Mongolian BBQ. It’s an Asian stir fry restaurant. It’s like a 3 step process: you pick out your food, pile it in a bowl and watch it cook on a huge grill. My first time in a place like that and it was pretty cool too!

Interns at BD's Mongolian BBQ restaurant

The Media & Communications interns had the chance to tour Capitol Hill as well. The architecture inside the Capitol is amazing. We also visited the Library of Congress. It was a good day!

Communications interns

Inside the "Whisper Room" in the Capitol Building

Inside the Library of Congress

I love DC!

Quote of the week: Work hard and have fun!