Sunday, January 11 2009

Steve Bell, Professor and faculty director, Dana Bash, Senior Congressional Correspondent CNN, and Michael A. Genovese, Ph. D. and author of “A memo to the President” was the speakers of the first day. Steve Bell began with his first lecture about politics and the media. Dana Bash came second and told us all about her career and what she has experienced. Michael A. Genovese was the last speaker with his lecture “The peaceful transition of power”.

Two things struck me during Bell and Genovese’s lectures and those things concern Hillary Clinton and the difference between New Yorkers and DCers. When Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama ran against each other I knew immediately that the world and U.S is not ready for the largest economic power in the world to have a female president. I never once doubted the fact that the democrats would win, there was no other option, and my guess lay with Obama. Friends and others around me doubted my intuition and argued that Clinton would win due to the fact that she is white and race goes before gender. But allow me to remind everyone of certain dates. In 1870 the former slaves got the right to vote, which extended to right to vote to all male citizens, it took until 1920 until the right to vote was extended to include women as well. These dates (among other facts) make it obvious to me that all revolutions precede the women’s revolution. For example, the language is always under control for condescending words and they slowly disappear from the language as people evolve and more and more minorities win respect. Words such as Negro is not used to the same extent anymore and the word Jew is fighting for its right to mean nothing more than a person connected to the Jewish religion. We watch our language of what we say and what we mean by that. Words that are demeaning to women are however still common and people get almost defensive when it comes to using them, it is only a joke or it is only a saying and nothing more.

Thus, the world’s largest economic power will see any, if not all, minorities as a president before there will be a women as a president. This was my conclusion and when Clinton announced that she would no longer continue as a candidate I was even more certain that Obama would go all the way to the top.

This brings me to the first thing that struck me. Bell stated that Clinton was portrayed in a sexist way and that sexism definitely played a part in the fact that she lost the candidate post. I don’t like to be right about these things because that means the world is not as developed as I wish it were but really as slow as I suspect it is.

The second thing that struck me is also an evidence of that the world is as slow as I suspect it is. One of the speakers told us that the question asked each evening in New York is “How much did you earned today?” and in Washington DC the question is “Whom did you help today?” and that this sums up the differences between the two cities. I get disappointed when I hear these kinds of statements, even if they are meant in a fun and friendly way, because they lay the groundwork to biases and how people in the end treat each other. I’ve been to New York, I loved it and I am counting on that I am going to fall in love with Washington to.

The main event for today was Dana Bash. During my past semester I have studied beat reporting, my main education has always evolved around news journalism and I expected beat reporting to be the same thing. It is not. As a news journalist all the news is your working field and you write about them as they came along. As a beat reporter you find the stories. A beat reporter’s main source is contacts, without contacts there would not be any stories. A beat reporter must therefore protect her contacts to be able to get her stories. Bash is a beat reporter and as such, she can’t give her sources away and she has to keep them on her good side.

I found her lecture lacking the real inside scoop story until she told us she was a beat reporter. Bash told us only about her career and how much she loves her job and Washington because she can’t really tell us anything else because that would jeopardize her relationship with her contacts. Her career story however, gave inspiration to who of us that want to be a journalist. I might be damaged from actually being in the industry but a reporter is a journalist that is on front of a camera. All people dealing with some form of media text is a journalist. A media text is not only word on a paper but sound and video as well.


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