By Kara Zupkus, JMC Minor ‘19
Walking into the bustling newsroom at the Washington Examiner office on my first day, I assumed I would meet some of the reporters, read through a manual detailing my responsibilities and get a feel for the stories I would be expected to cover on and how to publish articles.
I never imagined that I would dive right into the journalism world, getting the opportunity to pitch and write stories and have my first byline published on a national platform within hours of arriving.
Each day, I monitored the major cable news networks, social media and government press releases for breaking news. If something caught my eye, I would pitch the story to my editor and quickly turnaround a piece for publication on the Examiner’s website and social media accounts.
My proudest achievement at the Examiner was breaking a major story for the publication. As I was about to head home after a long day at the breaking news desk, I saw a report on Twitter from NPR citing anonymous Pentagon officials regarding the Las Vegas massacre gunman and an unreleased draft of a statement from the Air Force regarding a possible administrative error.
After quickly alerting my editor, I broke the story for the Examiner regarding the error in the Air Force database that allowed the gunman to obtain the gun used in the shooting. My story was featured on the Examiner front page for several hours and tweeted by several political figures — something I could have only dreamed of as a journalism student.
I also had the opportunity to attend a White House press briefing in October, experiencing the relationship between the press and a presidential administration firsthand. I even had the chance to meet some of my journalism heroes, including John Roberts of Fox News and NBC’s Peter Alexander.
It was humbling to be surrounded by so much history and dedicated reporters pursuing truth in the White House briefing room. That experience reaffirmed that my passion lies in the government process.
My time at the Examiner was truly incredible, and something that I will carry with me throughout the rest of my time at GW and beyond. Having the freedom to choose what to write about, while having the mentorship of an amazing news team was the perfect formula for improving my reporting.