By Tim Webber
Yesterday, I gleefully reported that the journalism site visits had finally arrived. As promised in my post yesterday evening, we got to visit the headquarters of National Public Radio — commonly known, of course, as NPR.
I’m certainly not the only NPR geek in this class, as evidenced by the lengthy line inside the NPR gift shop immediately prior to our tour. After some rocky discussions about journalism earlier in the week, I was thrilled that so many people (including non-journalists) were excited about the visit.
And it was quite a visit. We were given a guided tour of the NPR building, spanning five floors of offices, studios, and work areas. We stopped by the newsroom and had a bird’s-eye view of Lakshmi Singh preparing a midday newscast. We saw the studio where Morning Edition and All Things Considered are broadcast and received an impromptu overview of the technical details that go into the latter’s afternoon broadcasts. We even got to visit the “set” of the Tiny Desk Concert series, replete with an Emmy award.
I titled this blog post the way I did because, more than any other site we’ve visited on this trip, I thought, “Wow, this would be an incredible place to work.” The other publications we visited (The Washington Post and The Atlantic) would also be great places to work, but NPR just had something different about it. Maybe it was because the newsroom felt so much like that of the Kansas City Star, where I’ve previously interned, or maybe it was the relaxed atmosphere. Either way, I came out of NPR with a serious case of, for lack of a better phrase, #careergoals.
That’s been a common thread throughout our two weeks here in Washington. I feel like the majority of our class has either had the opportunity to visit a place where they’d want to work in the future, or discovered a potential employer that they hadn’t previously considered.
We’re getting a lot of meaningful education out of this trip in terms of politics and academics, but we shouldn’t overshadow the real-world education we’re obtaining through site visits and networking events, where we’ve learned so much about living and working at various places in D.C. In some ways, I feel like that real-world education has been the most important part of this trip.
The course’s eponymous event, the inauguration, takes place in just over 36 hours. But even if we weren’t able to witness that sort of history, I think most of our class would be satisfied with the trip, thanks to site visits like the one to NPR.