The Washington Post.

20 Jul

I’m only one week into my USA adventure and I’ve already met some incredible people. I’m actually shivering with excitement just thinking back on it all. I’ll do my best to explain it all clearly in a second, but four of them have wikipedia pages, long ones – with references. For those of you who know me well, this is certainly another episode in ‘Grace’s life is like a movie’.

So you’re probably very confused right now, thinking ‘wasn’t Grace just going to the states to get drunk and a tan?’ Which is a very understandable presumption, but that’s only part of my adventure.

Through networking and very helpful friends, I managed to get a couple of contacts at the Washington Post who were gracious enough to agree to have lunch with me.

The first contact was through my great highschool friend, Ross, who connected me with Joe Stephens. He showed me around the Washington Post newsroom, which was an event in itself. It’s huge! I was surprised how open plan it was and how everyone was mixed together. The only divider was between the opinion and news sections, a definition the Post takes seriously, both figuratively and physically. We then went to a local deli for some lunch and Joe invited Pulitzer Prize winner James Grimaldi along too.

We discussed a range of topics including how they got their starts in journalism, their favourite stories, what they thought of the changing media environment, teamwork, twitter and what job advice they’d give a young journo student like me.

Firstly, and quite fittingly given the current Murdoch scandal, they both implored that your first loyalty should be to your reader and do what is ethically and morally right.

Also having dogged determination when they know there is a story has also paid off, learning not to take no for an answer was the best lesson they could pass on to me.

After having the weekend to digest all of this, I met with Christopher Ma who is more involved in the business side of the Post than the news. My connection with Chris is a little complicated, but for those who care, my godfather’s sister-in-law has a brother who is married to Chris’s daughter. We chatted in his office for a while, before he showed me through the advertising department, including the almost empty classifieds section. On the way we stopped past Ben Bradlee‘s office, I was more than a little star struck, but he was incredibly welcoming and he reminisced about his time Australia during the war. My degree of separation to John F Kennedy is now 1.

Chris and I ended up having a long lunch where I picked his very bright brain about the future of news media and how current media companies are going to have to change to make news a sustainable business. So many things to think about! Oh, and my degree of separation to Mark Zuckerburg is also 1. Unbelievable.

Chris’s daughter works at YouTube, and hopefully I’ll get to meet up with her when I’m in San Fran in a couple of weeks to get another perspective on what I should do with my life.

I’ll keep you all posted!


One Response to “The Washington Post.”

  1. Ross July 22, 2011 at 12:17 am #

    Loving the movie (that is Grace’s life)!

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