Emily Long at the Tidal Basin in Washington DCEmily Long
Journalism & New Media

April 8 | Hello Everyone,

I can’t believe that I’m writing my last blog post! Time has flown while I’ve been in DC and even though I’ve done so much over the past few months, I feel like I just got here! Over the past couple of weeks, spring has come in to DC in full force. Being from Upstate New York it was a bit of a shock to me- I’m used to winter going until March and April being relatively cold. So to have is be shorts weather in March was definitely welcome after the bitter cold and misery of winter.

Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DCOne event I’ve been looking forward to since I got here is the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Every Spring, the cherry blossom trees all over the city come into full bloom to transform DC into a a fluffy pink and white wonderland. Until now, I’d only seen pictures of the flowers online or in books but I finally got to experience it this year!

On March 30, I headed out to the National Mall and to the Washington Monument for the National Kite Festival with some friends. Tons of kites surrounded the monument for some amazing visuals. We also walked around the tidal basin next to the Jefferson Memorial (probably my favorite of all the monuments) where the breeze blowing off the water made for a perfect temperature. The cherry blossoms here were in full bloom and made for some fantastic Instagram content!

By the end of the day, we checked our phones and they counted about 15,000 total steps for the day (DC is 100% the best city to walk around). I noticed that my arms and face also got some color which was welcome because I’m just a naturally pale person and after this winter, I looked a little ghost-like.

Springtime at the Washington MonumentI’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time in DC and getting to write about it. I’m really glad that everyone has come along for this wild ride. One thing I’ve really discovered about myself from this semester is that I love to be in places where things are happening. DC is such an exciting, cultured city. While it’s a historic place, it’s increasingly modern and evolving. I have one more year left of college and then I’ll be tasked with finding a job (This is my shameless plug to say that if you’ve enjoyed my writing, I’m open to writing about pretty much anything. Follow my LinkedIn: Emily E Long) and going until the real world. While I’m a little sad to be leaving DC and going back home, I don’t think I’m going to be gone for too long!

Blog History

The view of the Capitol from the top of the NewseumEmily Long
Journalism & New Media

March 25 | During the time that I’ve been in DC, I’ve come to rely on the news to find out what’s happening during the day. Here’s a day in my life from what I consume in the media:

I start every morning by reading Politico Playbook. My political communication class requires me to read it every morning. However, I really don’t know how you could survive in Washington without reading it. The playbook is the roundup of what is going on in politics. I usually read this immediately when I wake up. Around 12:30, the afternoon edition comes out with updates on what’s happened since 6 am. This is Washington, everything moves at a pace that’s extremely fast so it’s good to check in with how stories have developed over the course of the day, especially when you’ve been entrenched in your corner of bureaucracy. While I’m on the train, I listen to the New York Times podcast, “The Daily.” Podcasts have really blown up in the past couple of years and are really popular during commutes. “The Daily” takes a deep dive into specific news stories. These topics can range anywhere from US politics to international affairs. The podcast helps listeners understand a lot of the background knowledge involved with the big political issues happening in the world. Nearly everyone listens to “The Daily”, so it’s a great topic of small talk for the office or with my fellow WSP’ers.

The view of the Washington Monument from the Speaker's Balcony in the Capitol BuildingWhen I log onto my computer at the office or when I’m just doing homework, I usually browse The New York Times and Washington Post after I’ve accomplished some tasks. I try to read some international stories and make sense of the situation in Venezuela or whatever is going on with Brexit (seriously, if someone could explain that in three minutes or less, it would be greatly appreciated!). While I do read a lot of informational reading, I can’t help but browse the Style section of the New York Times when I need a break. On my way home, I listen to more long-form podcasts that stem from actual radio broadcasts like “The Ben Shapiro Show”. While I do my homework, I might complete a couple of longer articles found on Long Reads, a website that compiles long-form articles from all around the internet.

While consuming copious amounts of media at all hours, it’s important to remember two things. The first is to read on both sides of the aisle to get a full perspective. I often look at the same story from both Fox and CNN. We can’t exactly change media bias, but it’s really important to understand how both sides cover the same issue and how that coverage influences the public. My other point is to make sure that you take breaks from the news every once in a while. Yes, with the 24-hour news cycle, I could be watching/reading/listening to the news at all times of the day, the world we live in is crazy so it’s important to take breaks. So much can happen during the day that you forget to look around you and see what’s actually happening in the world, instead of from just behind the screen.

Emily with class on the set of Meet the PressEmily Long
Journalism & New Media

March 13 | Lights, Camera, Politics!

Hello Everyone! Over the past couple of weeks, I have had the opportunity to attend two very different political talk shows, “Meet the Press” and “Tucker Carlson.” DC is a center of news and information so it only made sense to go see how these shows actually happen. In my political communications class, we have been talking about how public figures will often do interviews on Sunday morning talk shows for a variety of reasons. It could be to announce a new initiative, take a stance on an issue or just do some old-fashioned damage control. Of course we had to experience a Sunday morning talk show WSP-Style, by going to “Meet the Press.”

While going to a taping of “Meet the Press” sounds exciting, waking up at 6 am on a Sunday wasn’t. However, I quickly got over this and headed with my classmates to the NBC studios on Nebraska Ave, a short 10 minute walk from American.

Emily on the set of Tucker CarlsonAfter we were checked in the class was ushered onto bleachers in the back of the studio. Shortly after, the show started. A notable guest that Sunday was the Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio. This was just after Amazon pulled out of the New York City headquarters deal. The mayor had a one-on-one interview with Todd about why the deal didn’t work out and that New York City is still open to the idea of an Amazon facility. After the show, we had the chance to ask the host, Chuck Todd, some questions. He was really quite open and genuine with his answers about being the host of the longest-running talk show in America and what he thinks of today’s political climate. Todd was able to give some really insightful answers to our questions.

Surprisingly, “Meet the Press” hasn’t been the only taping that I’ve gotten to go to this semester!

On the night after Micheal Cohen’s public testimony, my journalism class visited Fox News for a taping of “Tucker Carlson”. We were greeted by Emily, Tucker’s bubbly assistant who talked to us about her life as an assistant and what her crazy busy life is like.

A few minutes before 8, we were shuffled into the studio. The studio was actually very small. We watched as Tucker went through his monologue and giving his opinion on the the Cohen testimony from the day. He also talked about the conference with North Korea in Hanoi.

Emily with friends on the set of Tucker CarlsonEmily then lead us on a tour around Fox showing us the control rooms, and the different studios in the office. A highlight was definitely getting to sit at the same desk as Laura Ingram! We were sure to get tons of pictures, sitting at the desk and pretending to interview each other. The studio has a fantastic view of the Capitol and at night, it’s even better!

I find it very interesting how often times, the news only really focuses on two or three stories for the day. By the end of the day, I was definitely ready to check out and watch another episode of “The West Wing.”

With the Washington Semester Program, you can go from Capitol Hill where important testimonies are happening a couple of floors below your office, to watching a taping of an opinion-based news show a couple of hours later. You get to go from reading about the news in Politico every morning to actually getting to experience the news interviews happening right before your eyes.

A bookstore in Washington, DC.Emily Long
Journalism & New Media

February 25 | Hello Everyone!

During my first month or so in DC I’ve definitely noticed that  everyone usually has their nose in a book, newspaper or magazine. Everyone here is always reading.  As a lifelong reader, this is a great environment to be in; I’ve definitely been inspired to read more now that I am surrounded by so many readers. My only wish is that I could read on the Metro without getting dizzy!  DC is also home to tons of independent bookstores each with their own flavor and feel. During my time here, I’ve been to quite a few bookstores, but I’ll highlight my favorites.

Politics and Prose: An institution in DC, the independent bookstore is the city’s answer to Barnes and Noble. The store holds many niche books that you usually have to resort to Amazon to buy and of course, all the hot off the presses books that everyone is reading.

The store also has a café with some really quite fantastic toast concoctions. When I visited, I got a toast with cream cheese, salmon, mustard seeds, red onion and dill on a thick rye bread. Call me a millennial, but this toast was seriously worth it and yes, I got some great Instagram content. Politics and Prose also hosts monthly trivia nights which I attended with two friends from my hall. The topic our night was DC Trivia, something we having only been here a month, didn’t know much about. We tried our hardest but somehow ended up in last place but it was a really cool environment to be in.

Capitol Hill Books: If you want to be overwhelmed in the best possible way, I’d highly suggest Capitol Hill Books. Every surface that can serve as a shelf does. Keep a look out for the hilariously nerdy signs that mark specific genres, sub-genres and sub-sub-genres. You could kill a couple of hours in the store just trying to find something perfect. The afternoon I went, it was cold and drizzly, perfect for the warm and dry interior of the bookstore. The store is quiet with people from all walks of life deep in novels, nonfiction and poetry.

Second Story books: I would call this store the hybrid of Capitol Hill and P&P, that being said, this is the most organized used bookstore you’ll ever see. The store features standard used books but also rare collections that were definitely out of my price range but nonetheless cool to see. The store also features a back room of used CD’s with all sorts of music featuring’s- that being said, if you still actually own a CD player. Before or after your visit, be sure to check out the $4 discount bins and carts on the sidewalk because you never know what be in there.

When you go to an independent bookstore, you are not only finding really cool books, you’re supporting local business, breathing life into old stories and it’s good for the earth. So if you find yourself with nothing to do this weekend, check out a bookstore because , I’m sure everyone else is too.

Washington Semester students in front of the White HouseEmily Long
Journalism & New Media

February 13 | Hello Everyone, I’m Emily from Lasell College in Boston where I study communication and public relations. I am here in Washington this semester to study journalism, political communication and global communication. I’m really excited to start writing about my experiences and adventures for the Washington Semester Program! Over the next couple of months, you’ll be my copilot on the possible craziest semester of my life!

One key aspect of the Washington Semester Program is how you get to grow and expand your professional network. The key to building your network is to cultivate relationships with other people. Simplified, it means to make friends! What better way to make friends than by taking on a city wide scavenger hunt?

On our first Saturday in Washington, we put on our warmest scarves and boots to take on DC! We started by picking our teams. My team ended up being a combination of kids from different majors, parts of the country and even countries halfway across the globe! Soon after, we got our first set of clues and were ready to go! Armed with our UPasses for the metro (All American University students, including the Washington Semester Program, get unlimited rides on the metro for free!) we set out into the city. We took a couple of wrong turns at first but eventually, we found our way into DC. At one, we had a check in where we got another set of clues. The team, now dubbed the “DC Dawgs” wasn’t quite sure where we stood. However, after getting to know each other and breaking the ice with some seriously funny situations, we all started to fall into a rhythm. Soon, we were racing to solve clues that included getting pictures at a landmarks like the Capitol and the Washington Monument. More out-of-the-box clues included finding red, white and blue sprinkles, finding a picture of Mike Pence and recreating the Iwo Jima Statue.

By the time we headed back to campus, we were tired but excited. When we looked at the list, we realized that we had accomplished more clues than not. Back in the classroom where everyone else was, we devoured some pizza and awaited for the score to be announced. After a minute of excitement and a chocolate eating contest to score some last minute points, the winners were about to be announced. We braced ourselves in anticipation. The teams got announced starting from last place. Slowly, we started to realize how close we were and sure enough, we won first place! Our prize? Tickets to a gala at the Italian Embassy for Valentine’s Day! We were buzzing, genuinely surprised that we had won!

Winning the scavenger hunt was the perfect way to start the semester and meet new people. Washington, DC is full of so many things to do and places to see, so I hope you’ll join me on this adventure!