On Wednesday, we were lucky enough to visit the National Press Club in downtown DC. There we met many influential people including: Angela Keane (NPC President), Chris Cilizza (The Washington Post), Jonathan Karl (ABC News), April Ryan (American Urban Radio Networks), and Hoda Kotb (Today Show). We began our visit by listening to a panel moderated by Angela Keane. The following is my story on the Q&A session.
“News and the public’s reaction to news is happening faster in today’s society due to social media. How do you think politicians feel about this?”
Chris Cilizza: It definitely doesn’t help make them cooperate any more than they already do. It does, however, help them to effectively shape their own story, the story that THEY want told.
(for April Ryan) “Did you ever doubt yourself as a black woman in the radio industry?”
April Ryan: I have always doubted myself because it is an industry dominated by white males. It is a tough town and tough industry, but keep believing in yourself because this business will eat you like roadkill.
“How do you think social media has effected the quality of journalism?”
Jonathan Karl: Social media is an amazing resource to get in touch with people but the news cycle has gotten so short. You have to get information out as soon as possible to prevent being beaten by another resource.
“It is said that politicians are hard to interview because they are robotic and give boring answers. Do you have any techniques on spinning answers into stories?”
Chris Cilizza: Well, the art of questioning is overlooked in importance. Politicians are good at not answering questions that they don’t want to answer. I try to stay non-confrontational, blunt, reasonable, and spend twice as the amount of time on wording and preparing questions than I do asking questions in the actual interview. Preparation matters so much. LISTEN. Follow-up is key.
“How has your journalism career effected your personal life?”
Jonathan Karl: It is an exciting job and I have to “remind myself how damn lucky I am…to do what I do.” My life is kind of taken over with it and “when I’m not working, I kinda am”. I can be one phone call away from leaving to do a report and sometimes I have to say to myself, “put down the damn Blackberry or iPhone”.
“What was your biggest fear coming into journalism and what is it now?”
April Ryan: They are: not making any money, job loss, and not being prepared.”
“What classes or minors would you/did you take for journalism?”
April Ryan: English, History, and Government
Angela Keane: Geology (try to think outside of the box)
Jonathan Karl: History, Literature, Writing (fundamentals), History, classic Liberal Arts classes, and just know what you’re covering and work on a newspaper or have internships
Chris Cilizza: Have an English major
“What did you want to do at 16?”
Chris Cilizza: I really think that then, but more so today, there is too much pressure on kids about their future as well as too much pressure too soon.
Jonathan Karl: I feel that your job at school is to LEARN and you shouldn’t be completely focused on college.
April Ryan: I was passionate about music and Prince, but I wasn’t necessarily into school.
There you have it; I present to you the Politics Panel at The National Press Club. What are your opinions on Angela, Chris, Jonathan, and April’s answers? I felt that they were very real and blunt whereas others felt completely different. Either way, I enjoyed hearing real-life journalists’ input on the field of journalism.
Chris, April, and Jonathan (Angela is not pictured)