Springfield: Learning Statehouse Reporting

Springfield: Learning Statehouse Reporting

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I’m writing this from a hotel in Springfield, Illinois. I know, how exotic. Actually, I am really excited to be here. Every year, Reporting Public Affairs State & National goes to Springfield to cover the House while it’s in session.

First of all, we got to take the train. Those of you who know me know that I hate the train, but guess what? I don’t! I hate the Metra, but I must have been stereotyping because I love Amtrak. Maybe it’s because I was sick and DayQuil unscrews my head, but it was so nice to just sit on a quiet roomy train. The lighting was dim. You could hear the gentle whir of the tracks and a sound that I find comforting—train horns. I know; I’m weird.

Then, Springfield is adorable. Sure, everything closes at 3 o’clock, but I really don’t have much of a night life anyway. We toured the Capitol building when we got here, and it was so ornate and full of history.

But the real fun was reporting the next day. I’m doing the social services beat, so I got to actually meet the state representatives I’ve been calling the past few weeks. Some of them are actually easy to talk to. There were so many lobbyists, and meetings, and press conferences—it felt like some kind of fair.

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There was a huge rally as I was leaving, so I stopped to see what it was about. (I had a sneaking suspicion I already knew.) It was an anti-gay marriage rally, which aligns perfectly with the op ed piece I’m working on.

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Tonight we had dinner at the Statehouse, and a bunch of reporters were there to talk to us about public affairs reporting. They offered amazing advice. Any time I hear someone in the field talk about journalism, I feel so much better. It’s comforting knowing that the stuff you’re going through while you’re learning is normal.

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That’s all I’ve got because we haven’t left yet, but look for a post in the next few weeks about places to live in Chicago! I know people are starting to get accepted for this fall (yay!) and will be looking for help with neighborhoods.