The ins and outs of keeping up with DC

Posted on Thursday, Aug 06, 2015

Have you ever been intimidated by the fast-paced lifestyle of politics in Washington, DC? I sure have. Before the summer preceding my senior year at Texas A&M University, I had not given much thought to a career in politics or policy. I did not grow up reading the newspaper every morning or watching the news every evening. Therefore, unlike most people I know in this field, I have not followed politics my entire life. If a senator were to pass me on the street, I wouldn’t likely recognize him or her. As an outsider looking in at DC life, it all seemed a bit overwhelming. For one, things seemed to move so quickly. It appeared almost impossible to keep up. I was determined to make up for what felt like a deficit, and I asked for advice on how to “keep up with DC.” I was constantly told to, “Stay informed.” As I prepped for my summer internship, I not only made sure I had a wide array of suits, comfortable flats, and business cards, but also a knowledge of the political going-ons in our nation’s capital. I began to follow twitter feeds, read news articles, and browse websites in the hope that I could stay on top of what was going on around town.
When I arrived, I quickly discovered that the media and the political world have a unique relationship in DC. Not only did I realize the importance of following the news, but I also began to understand how it shaped the dialogue around me. Everywhere I went, people discussed the latest news and how it was affecting their lives or the United States in general. The ins and outs of everyday life in DC are very much driven by what we see on our television screens or read in the newspapers.
We have been fortunate to be in the capital for a historic summer. The nation has experienced a whirlwind of activity, filled with many highs and lows. I will highlight just a few of them here:

  • May 30th: Beau Biden, son of Vice Present Joe Biden, passed away.
  • June 1st: Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, debuted her new name and image on the cover of Vanity Fair.
  • June 17th: Nine people were killed at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • June 25th: The Supreme Court ruled that subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be available to residents of all states.
  • June 26th: The Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.
  • July 16th: The House and Senate passed their versions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, formerly known as No Child Left Behind.
  • Ongoing: 2016 Campaign Coverage, since June 1st, eight Republican candidates have announced and two Democratic candidates have announced their bid for president. 

How did I stay up to date with all the news this summer? Good question, CNN and Politico send breaking news updates which are great. It’s hard to miss out on the most important news. Before I left for DC, I subscribed to the Skimm, which is a daily news recap. It goes out around 7 am, so even if you have to get an early start, you never miss your news update. I also subscribed to some news specifically related to the field I worked in and fields I was interested in working, that way I always had something to talk about at networking events or in the office. What about you, how do you keep up with DC? I mentioned just some of the key events that have shaped our summer in DC; what events have shaped yours? 

Amanda Dick
American Public Human Services Association
Washington DC – Summer 2015

Tags: DC, Media, Newspaper, PPIP, Social