Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pictures from the Newseum








Antenna from the World Trade Center

Old Printing Press








Journalists Memorial



Media Center


Ethics Games

One of the Pulitzer Prize Winning photos from the gallery


Our fearless leader Professor John Smith

Speakers from the week

Ambassador of Pakistan Hussain Haqqani

Clarence Page

Ted Koppel

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino

Washington Journal Live with Bret Baier and Juan Williams

Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel

Special Agent David J. O'Connor

Michael A. Genovese

Dana Bash

Day 7 (January 17)

Today was our last small group meeting in the morning.

Professor Smith was awesome the whole week, he ended and sang a song to us because he is an opera singer also. Our small group has bonded a lot, yesterday we shared all of our experiences growing up, our genealogy, and why our parents came to the country. I feel like in this short time we all got to know each other pretty well. We got along very well even though we come from different backgrounds.

We spent the rest of the day at the Newseum. It is a museum in DC dedicated to the news. I really underestimated it. I thought it would just be a bunch of newspaper clippings. It was so much more. There was a section of the Berlin wall there, Pulitzer prize winning pictures from the 40s onwards, historical newspapers dating back to the 1400s, how television and radio developed, a 9/11 section, a section on the FBI. There was so much in this museum we ended up spending 6 hours there. If you are ever in DC I highly recommend this museum. I will definitely put up pictures from the museum and this trip soon.

Day 6

Today was the final day of large group sessions at UDC.

We were able to hear from Sam Donaldson and we learned a lot about his experiences on the field. We also had a congressional panel of former congressmen and senators and also a former governor. It was great to see their responses to questions proposed by the audience. We had our final closing programs and we were free for the remainder of the day.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Day 5

Today we had a few distinguished guests. The first speaker was Dr. Ross Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers. He told us about the development of congress in our country based on British parliament. He also explained to us his take on the 7 characteristics of congress. He listed them to be: loyalism, territorial, accessibility, adversary, individualism, process and compromise.

Michael Genovese, our main speaker, went over presidential power. He challenged us to think about questions like "Is the President our problem or our solution?" We idolize our presidents but forget that the president is only one part of the government. There is a hereditary king in England but you can say there is an elected king in America. Another question Genovese asked us to ponder was "In an age of terrorism is an imperial presidency inevitable and were there actions of the Bush presidency constitutionally committed?" We have to be careful because centralized power jeopardizes liberty.

The next speaker was possibly one of my favorite speakers for the seminar. He was Hussain Haqqani, the ambassador of Pakistan to the United States. I guess coming from an Indian background I expected this to be a session of pointing fingers. It was far from it. I respect anyone that is honest and is ready to be critical of their own governments mistakes. He eloquently explained to us the transition Pakistan is going through from military rule to a democracy. A quote that struck me was "the world cannot solve it's problems without the U.S and the U.S cannot solve its problems without the world." This really showed us the value of interdependence. The world is a partner to the U.S. not a problem to solve. We can't just go into parts of the world and solve problems how we see fit. We have to wonder are we even welcomed in the first place? He also explained to us that things in Pakistan will take time especially when it comes to decisions. Because democracy is a legitimate means of expressing people's views but it is also messy when it comes to making decisions.

Our site visit for the day was to the embassy of Fiji. The ambassador and his co-workers were so nice. They had little gift bags prepared for us. We went over so facts about Fiji and by the end most of us were ready to fetch a plane straight to Fiji to visit. One thing that was interesting to me was how they break up their House in government by race. The native Fijians will always have a certain number of seats, and the Fiji-Indians are guaranteed a certain number of seats. There are also a few seats that are open for election. You register for elections by your race and can only vote for seats that represent your race.

In the evening we went to George Washington University to watch Mark Russell. He is a comedian that does mainly political satire.

Day 4

The day started as any other day. Steve Bell introduced the days activities. Each day he shows some influential commercials and media from the campaign. We saw the famous SNL skits, the "3AM" commercial, pro-Obama, anti-Obama, pro-McCain, and anti-McCain commercials. The media has a very influential part in an election. Especially in this one where some may argue that the media was very one sided.

We had another edition of Washington Journal Live filmed at our morning session. The guest today was Dana Perino, the White House press secretary under President Bush. I have much respect for her. She had to defend all actions of the administration in front of the press daily regardless of her personal opinion. I can't imagine how difficult of a job this would have been. She explained to us some of the blunders that occurred and how important it is to make sure all the information the President has is correct.

The next guest was Ted Koppel. He is the former host of ABC News Nightline. It was cool seeing someone that I grew up watching on TV. He had that same anchorman voice. He explained to us why journalists can't always be cautious about stories they publish. The press is the best way to keep an administration in check. There is also increasing concern about the number of foreign bureau's being closed. It's sad to see that TV news has become a business that focuses more on entertainment than the news. We are exposed to more stories about celebrities and their private lives instead of important stories happening around us.

The final guest for the day was Clarence Paige, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. He is a Pulitzer Prize Winner. He told us some inspiring advice "prepare yourself because someday the doors of opportunity will open up." We learned about how news vehicles have been changed and now the internet has become the source of news for a lot of people.

Our site visit for the day was the Capital Building. No matter how many times you go here, each time you are just proud to be an American when you step into this building. I will put up the pictures later.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 3

Today most of the morning we had the cast of C-SPAN at our session. They were recording Washington Journal Live and Q&A. Guess who was their live audience? All of us! We represented all corners of the country as we were 750 students from 47 different states and 14 different countries.

We were able to meet the president of C-SPAN. Our site-visit for the day was the Norweigan Embassy. Though I was reluctant at first because I thought it would be boring, it ended up being a great experience. We were able to meet the ambassador of Norway to the United States and we had a great conversation with him. I was able to learn a lot of facts about Norway and their importance to many peace keeping processes.

In the evening we had a reception at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This is right across the street from the hotel where the Obama's are staying. Some of the students were lucky to catch him outside. We were able to hear from and meet Bob Shieffer.