Two UA journalism students cover President Obama's second inauguration
Two UA journalism students covered the presidential inauguration this spring for their journalism internships.
Sami-Jo Roth has an internship with Time Warner Cable and she kept the Twitter feed up to date, retrieved equipment and assisted reporters and photographers with the inauguration coverage.
Amer Taleb has an internship with the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire and he wrote his own feature stories about people who attended the inauguration.
How was the inauguration from a reporter’s standpoint?
Roth: It was insane! It was better than I could have ever expected.
I was probably the youngest person where I was. I literally haven’t even taken my press pass off because I can’t even get over how cool it was.
It was amazing. I was standing up on these platforms where all these network anchors and reporters were, like Anderson Cooper and Lester Holt with NBC right next to me. I had a perfect view of the president and of Beyonce; I saw statement people; I saw Johnny Depp; I saw Denzel Washington. I have never experienced anything like this before and it was just the most incredible day.
Taleb: Unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like it. I don’t have anything to compare it to. It was marvelous, fantastic and amazing.
I really have trouble verbalizing it because it was absolutely amazing. The inauguration, Washington D.C., Capitol Hill, they are places I’ve only read about and so to go there as a reporter, it was absolutely amazing. It was an unbelievable chance to be a part of history. Not only to be there to cover the politicians and what they were doing, but also I was able to cover the human element of why people came to the inauguration and what it meant to people.
As a reporter it’s amazing; it’s one of the biggest events.
I thought it was extremely valuable to me to capture what the average person was feeling on one of the most important days in the country’s history.
What inspired you to get involved in journalism or what is your favorite part?
Roth: As a child I was always fascinated with news and watching television. I think it’s really special to be able to cover an event. Everybody sees things differently so to be able to show what you saw and how it played out for you and share that experience with other people is just so rewarding. To be able to express yourself creatively like that, it’s an outlet that I’ve always been really passionate about, especially with political things. I’m a political science major as well, so being here really allows me to tap into both of my loves of journalism and politics because everything I cover here is politics, absolutely every single day.
I’m really excited and we just got our credentials for Congress so I will be able to, with Time Warner Cable, go to the press conference in the White House, in the West Wing and all the areas inside the Supreme Court. It’s really exciting to be able to just be there.
Taleb: I’m a storyteller; that’s how I see myself. I love journalism; there are so many aspects to it that I enjoy. One of my favorite aspects of journalism is that I get to share people’s stories and people trust me enough to share their stories. A lot of times it’s a great personal part of themselves and so for them to actually take the time to sit down with me, to talk to me about a personal part of their lives and trust that I’m going to do an excellent job to portray them in an accurate light, that means a lot. That’s something I always enjoy, that trust that people give me. In terms of what inspires me, I see journalism as a medium. I want to be in a position where I can help people, where I can empower people. Maybe that’s not in journalism, maybe that’s in medicine or engineering. But I think for me, because of the things that I love to do and the skills that I have, I was best suited to empower people through journalism.
How was adjusting to the move to D.C.?
Roth: It’s really hard moving to a big city where you just don’t know anyone and you’re all alone.
This move for me has been so easy and almost been unreal just being here. I walk past the Capitol every single day.
Everyone at home has been so supportive and helping me out so much with this and giving me recognition has been kind of like the cherry on top. It’s so awesome that everybody has been just so supportive and reaching out to me and I appreciate it so much.
It’s made this experience way more meaningful for me.
Taleb: The first thing is the most obvious one, which is the weather. I’m from Tucson, born and raised, and so to come to D.C. it’s a little bit of a culture shock and, honestly, a weather shock, too; it’s very different.
I love D.C. and I love the people, but my heart is in Tucson. I packed my whole room into my suitcase; I bought every sweater in Tucson before I came. For me it’s cold; the other interns are fine because they come from colder parts of the country, but coming from Tucson it’s extremely cold for me.
The other thing is D.C. is a very fast-moving city. People are constantly moving, there are always people yelling and people are constantly on the go, their gears are constantly moving. The third thing is a little bit of homesickness because my friends, my family, all these people that I love and that I miss are still back home.