Monday, August 3, 2009

Be our guest

Athelia Knight, a veteran metro desk Washington Post reporter speaks to students. She will be teaching an investigative journalism course at Princeton in the fall. (Photo Credit: Brian Rokus '99) 
By Vanessa Flores-Maldonado (Los Angeles, CA)

President, Vice-President, Directors, Deans and Professors.

Yes sir/madam, we’ve got them all. Or at least as guest speakers. Just one of the wonderful perks at the Princeton University Summer Journalism Program (SJP).

Having our mealtimes enriched with guest speakers is turning into a wonderful memory here at the program. Yes, we always complain with: “we’re eating again?!” but when we hear who is going to tell us their story and perhaps give us advice in creating our own, we march off, already coming up with questions.

Once that door closes off our secluded dining room from the rest of the Rocky dining hall, we hush and listen. We hear stories of those with backgrounds very much similar to most of ours, we hear of their struggles and also of their triumphs.

Just being in these halls that many magnificent figures have long before us walked through is intimidating enough. But being in the same room as the first woman president of one of the top universities in the nation or sitting next to a professor who serves as a chair in more associations than there are SJP students (Wilson School Professor Stanley Katz), it's a little crazy.

Still, it’s fun. Because not only are we able to build up our journalistic skills by asking questions politely to our guests, but because we get to see what it takes to get to our dream goal. We are advised to ignore the distractions brought on by numerous factors and to focus and centralize all our energy on one simple goal: to be what we want to be -- tellers of the truth.

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