My Adventure in Washington

Jan 162014

Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court, the White House, the Pentagon… I covered a variety of news from the U.S. government, to education, business and features during my internship in Washington,D.C.

I am a junior at School of Journalism and Communication, Tsinghua University, China, where I major in Media Economics and Management. This semester, I worked as a multimedia reporter at Scripps Howard Foundation Wire. As the first Chinese student enrolled in this program, I have learned a lot through covering various events happening in the capital of the United States. I reported Sino-U.S. relations, the capital shooting and the government shutdown.

This is definitely the craziest three months I have ever spent. During my internship, I took photos and videos for my story, as well as edited videos and made slideshows. I have heard my professors mentioned ‘Snow Fall’ (a famous New York Times multimedia project) in class many times, but this is my first experience of developing a multimedia story myself.

I feel lucky that I applied to the program. I have learned so much from my editor and colleagues. We discussed various topics every week, from First Amendment, to journalism ethics. Being a journalist in the U.S. and China is totally different. I keep thinking every day after work – media culture, foreign affairs, and of course, censorship.

I know people are curious about my country. I feel like censorship, to some degree, is like a kitchen. When I was little, my mom won’t allow me to enter the kitchen. She was afraid the knives and fire in the kitchen may harm me. But when I grew up, I was able to enter the kitchen without her permission. I visited the kitchen thoroughly, and found out that it has no difference with other rooms.

The kitchen is part of house. So is censorship to news.

Reporting in the U.S. is like opening the kitchen to me. My work here let me understand why some topics are forbidden, how they are, and why it is necessary to do so. And also, why news freedom is important and how we should deal with it in China.

I hope my unique experience here may help me do better reporting back in my country.