There is something daunting about writing a blog post with the serious title of “Post-Conference Reflections on WJMC” because it seems to come with a level of expectation. I feel as if I should write something profound about how the people I met at WJMC completely changed the way I view the world, how my journalistic skills and curiosity were fine-tuned to the highest degree, how I fell in love with something at the conference and found the true passion that will guide my career path for the rest of my life. Instead, what I hope to write here comes as much from the heart but may be less insightful or inspiring. I think WJMC did change my life, but its alterations are still too new for me to process in full light. I also have probably emerged from WJMC with just as many questions as answers about my future career aspirations and the media field. Maybe that is the side of me that tries to think like a journalist.
What do I know I gained from attending WJMC? These things I attained for sure:
1. Friendships. I am incredibly grateful for the people I met at WJMC who opened my mind to different perspectives and gave me excuses to smile and laugh. They made this adventure fun.
2. Networking experience. A person can learn a lot about follow-up emails, leaving contact information with people, and asking good questions in just a few days especially when she has excellent advisors who care about her professional growth.
3. Insight on what Journalism really is. Now, I am not going to spit out an exact definition here, but I will say I had valuable first-hand experience learning how integrity, courage, skill, objectivity, policy, and people drive good journalism. I also enjoyed learning about Solutions Journalism and various methods of communication used by media professionals. (The college credit in PROV 110-Special Topics in Leadership was just frosting on the cake).
4. An incredible experience to visit Washington D.C. Our nation’s capital is breathtaking. It is tree-covered yet urban, ancient but modern. So much history is packed within walking distance, and the sights are something you just have to see.
To answer the unspoken question, yes, I am happy I took the opportunity to attend WJMC. I experienced so much development in just six days, and my eyes were opened to new possibilities. I met many like-minded individuals who shared their stories, and we put aside – no, embraced – our differences to create a new story during our time together. Journalists, media professionals in general, and all people, really, want to tell the stories that matter to them. Thank you for reading my WJMC blog and letting me tell mine.