Communications Students beat
newly elected Congress
members to Washington

ELON-The midterm elections took on new meaning for 14 School of Communications students. While their classmates were still talking about the elections in their classrooms, the group was in Washington, DC, analyzing the results with some of the biggest names in political journalism just two days after the polls closed.

A conference for college journalists, Covering Politics & Elections, was held Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 9-11. The three-day event was co-sponsored by the Institute on Political Journalism (IPJ) and the Fund for American Studies. The location was the Holiday Inn Capitol Hotel, just blocks away from the Capitol building.

Speakers at the conference included Frank Sesno, CNN Special Correspondent & Former Washington Bureau Chief; Fred Barnes, Executive Editor, The Weekly Standard and co-host of FOX News’ Beltway Boys; Donald Lambro, The Washington Times; Richard Benedetto, Correspondent/Columnist, USA Today; Carl Cannon, White House Correspondent, National Journal; and Emily Heil, Reporter, Congress Daily.

The students also toured CNN’s Washington bureau, and were able to be on the set of anchor Wolf Blitzer’s daily news show, The Situation Room, during its live opening segment. “Actually being in the situation room was one of the most thrilling moments of my entire life,” said Ingrid Keller, who is majoring in broadcast journalism.

A private tour of the Capitol included a rare visit to the floor of the House of Representatives with former Washington State Congresswoman Linda Smith.

A Friday evening dinner with three Elon University Communications alumni enabled current students to network with graduates who have been in the working world for several years. The alumni were Dan Hansen, ’05, who now works for Johns Hopkins University; Scott McCrary, ’00, who is now a producer for CBS Newspath in Washington; and Craig Fingar, ’01, who is a support engineer at CNN

Junior Sean Cearley said the conference was "an experience where you learn not just the in's and out's of the business, but also learn about your peers as well."

The students attending the IPJ conference were members of the Elon chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the Radio Television News Directors Association (RTNDA). They were accompanied by communication professors Anthony Hatcher and Rich Landesberg, as well as by Linda Lashendock, assistant director of instructional technologies for television services.

"The trip to D.C. was an excellent opportunity for us to practice our networking skills,” said sophomore Olivia Hubert-Allen. “What we heard from IPJ's array of speakers was valuable, and truly gave insight to 'the business.'"

“The DC conference was a valuable trip because I was able to talk with potential employers and really value what Elon is doing in preparing me for the real world,” Brittany Smith, a junior, said.

The students on the trip were Theodore Rolfvondenbaumen; Kyle Andersen; Lauren Limerick; Lauren Trucksess; Kevin Kline; Kaitlin Ugolik; Rachel Cieri; Ingrid Keller; Brittany Smith; Miriam Williamson; Olivia Hubert-Allen; Liz Nagy; Sean Cearley; Andi Diemer

Before departing on Saturday, students were able to tour the National Air and Space Museum. A highlight of the drive back to Elon was a visit to a Dairy Queen in Ashland, Va., where students observed their professors regressing to simpler childhood times as they slurped their ice cream with abandon.


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