Leanne Peacock reflects on her first week as WIP intern with the broadcasting organization, Fednet.
This week my fellow WIPpers and I commenced what is probably the most intensive, tiring and enriching experience of our young lives to date. On Monday morning I joined the workforce of Fednet. Fednet is a broadcasting company that streams live footage of the House and Senate floors, not to mention hearings, debates and many other events of interest that occur around D.C, and archives them for future reference.
The intimacy of this placement, given that there are only five members of staff manning this valuable resource site, is something that cannot be bought as it makes the experience a lot more personal and gives me the opportunity to learn greatly from those around me.
The first task carried out on Monday morning was by far the most beneficial-the gaining of my Press credentials and congressional Press pass. Obtaining these items (dodgy photograph included) put me in a valuable position and has allowed me unique access to the Capitol building and its functions. This fact in itself ensures that I experience the inner workings of the American political system and get a once in a life time opportunity to see congress work in practice. In addition to this I have a wonderful fountain of knowledge in my work colleagues who ensure that I learn everything that I possibly can during my short stay about the inner workings of government with a detailed weekly lesson plan allowing me time to look into each aspect in more detail.
My first week was more than I could ever have imagined, I begin my day with my daily ‘diet’ of newspapers and current affairs however after this each day has been an entirely different and incredible experience. During this week I have witnessed things that someone coming from my background could never have dreamed possible and it’s only getting better as my internship progresses.
I began my week with a tour of the Capitol followed by lunch with my boss in the private members dining room in the Senate-what a start! Then throughout the week in addition to viewing the broadcasting technology and how it works I have attended committee Hearings, press conferences, media conferences and corporate meetings and also viewed events on the floor of both the House and the Senate. This has enabled me to see first hand how decisions are made in this the most powerful country in the world and witness the day to day of American politics. My ‘lesson’ for this week was on article 1 of the American Constitution so I have spent some time researching this and discussing it at length with my supervisor. Next week I will look at current members and current affairs. I couldn’t ask for better guidance. Monday morning I begin in the Supreme Court to hear the verdict on President Obama’s healthcare Bill the monumental day of President Obama’s term of office. WIP truly has provided me with a once in a lifetime experience and something which I will never forget. My knowledge of American politics past and present is growing with every day I spend here and the fact that everyone is willing and able to discuss it adds to the value of the knowledge I am gaining and the perspectives I hear.
So, after week one of my working time here in Washington D.C and having been immersed in political life for five days, although weary, I have learned more about American politics then I would ever have learned reading books and articles. Although I am only an intern at Fednet, after one week I truly feel like part of the team largely due to the fantastic welcome I have received from the Fednet team themselves. View Fednet’s coverage at www.fednet.net or on the mobile site at www.VUGUV.com and this may give you a small insight into my experience so far!
I only have one negative thought in my mind as we embark on week three here in D.C- eight weeks is not long enough!