From the action at the White House to the Museum of Journalism: Washington through the eyes of Russians
Why did I go there and what did I look at in a few days. Sergey Zvezda talks about his internship in the USA and his impressions of the capital in the pages TJournal.
In early June, I left St. Petersburg for a month in the United States for the sake of journalistic training. During this time I will be in three places: Washington, Colorado and New York.
Why do I need all this
The opportunity to work side by side with journalists in the American media has recently seemed impossible to me. Until now, it is obvious to me that in the States they have enough of their first-class reporters with editors (the plants, I remind, are standing). All the more curious that a part of the American media in almost all states gives practice to foreign journalists from year to year. And this is against the background of the closure of some educational exchange programs.
I came across an internship from The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), which I negotiated with all publications, by chance. Just flipped through the profile Telegram channels. And experience is never enough.
After several stages of selection, which lasted from the end of February to mid-April 2019, the results were revealed to the applicants. 20 people went to the USA - 19 cool Russian journalists and me.
The trip was divided into three phases: workshops, lectures and discussions in Washington, internship in one of the states, as well as a final discussion and a couple of trainings in New York. To begin, I will tell and show you what I did in the capital.
What have Washingtonians
We spent almost five days in Washington, most of which the organizers filled with something useful. The day of arrival and several evenings were free. His first walk to the White House led to a rally against Donald Trump. As I later understood, the actions opposite the Oval Office are held almost daily. One can imagine how numerous they can be on weekends if it was only Tuesday.
As you walk along the National Avenue or take a look at the White House, you play the soundtrack of the House of Cards in your head. You’re even surprised when you don’t find Frank and Claire late on Capitol Hill — they must run past accompanied by guards!
If you write about American politics, it’s necessary to keep some part of the state in Washington. The congress, the Trump cabinet, the State Department, the Supreme Court are all concentrated in almost one place. That's just to walk here is not very fond, preferring cars, bicycles and scooters.
In this post there is no need to dwell on the content of the trainings, but I can show some amusing (at least for me) details.
For example, we visited the local office of Vox Media, which brings together The Verge, Polygon, SB Nation, Vox, Recode and several other publications. If anything, Vox is the main “explanatory” in the media world. The day after our visit, Vox Media employees began a strike. No, we have nothing to do with this.
Al Jazeera is the only state-owned media (created by decree of the government of Qatar) from those we have visited. I had a small practice of working on TV during my student days - despite the experience, there is no desire to return.
The main office of Politico is not in Washington, but in Arlington - this is 15-20 minutes from the center of the capital by car. A huge staff of reporters, who in every possible way (from podcasts to TV) tries to talk about everything related to politics - about what is happening, what is to come, or what is possible.
The souvenir shop National Public Radio (a radio station funded by donations from listeners) sells devices for paranoids as well.
The magazine The Atlantic has long been considered not only literary. The main profile is political journalism. The Atlantic is located in the Watergate complex. Yes, in that.
It may seem commonplace, but the Newseum Museum of Journalism has given me goosebumps. What are several meters of the Berlin Wall.
The five floors of the Newseum are reminiscent of the importance of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution on freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the absence of a state religion. The museum, by the way, is a private initiative.
The exhibition-memorial about 11 of September 2001 of the year is so lively that it is not surprising to see napkins for visitors on it. On the stand with the front pages of newspapers from around the world about 9 / 11 there are Russian ones. The choice is not obvious: "News" and "Evening Petersburg."
In Newseum there is an impressive exhibition about the history of the struggle for the rights of the LGBT community, where there is a stand about celebrities who are openly gay and the story about the historical value of the TVing host Ellen DeGeneres is spinning. Parents study the exposition with their children and, if necessary, explain to them what is happening.
The Museum of Journalism has touched me so much that I returned to it the next day, since the ticket allows me not to pay extra for it. Most of all I'm stuck in the archive. Kennedy's murder, the release of Charlie Hebdo about Muhammad, the death of Michael Jackson, the first man on the Moon - and that is not all. Relics like the costume of O.J. Simpson, the person involved in an extremely important, loud and controversial business, are also missing.
Perhaps with Washington everything. It is difficult to make a clear conclusion about the city in such a short time, but I can say that it is something like Strasbourg (was) or Brussels (not yet). The first city is the European Court of Human Rights and the European Parliament, and the second is the headquarters of the European Union and the NATO office. Business life in Washington is also undeniably at the head - and this is the main reason for living here.
In case you are interested, I also describe what I saw in my instagram.
From Washington, I flew to Denver (Colorado), where I am right now. Other participants of the program work in other cities and states.
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