Sitting in on a Congressional Sit-In and Other Exciting Experiences

katemagillBy Kate Magill at The Durango Herald

During my time as the D.C. correspondent for The Durango Herald, one of my favorite experiences was covering Senator Michael Bennet’s participation in the sit-in in Congress to protest for new gun control legislation. The day of the sit-in, I was covering a House of Representatives vote on a Department of Labor rule, and so I was watching the live video stream of the House floor. As I was watching, I kept hearing yelling from behind the camera that was filming the floor, and I couldn’t figure out why the vote hadn’t happened yet. Scrolling through Twitter, I realized that what I couldn’t see on camera was the beginning of the sit-in.

Within a few minutes, as I learned of the magnitude of the sit-in, a new story took over my attention – what were the Colorado legislators’ reactions to this? I turned to their respective social media pages, and saw that Senator Bennet was taking part in the sit-in; I knew that was my story. Representative Scott Tipton also released statements condemning the sit-in, which I reported on in a follow-up story.

For me, reporting on the sit-in was exciting because it was a chance to cover an event as it was happening, and to see congressmen take a more active role in an issue. The initial story was one of the top articles on Durango Herald’s site that day, and readers left several comments on its page. This article was also on a topic that was having an impact nationwide, and so it was exciting to get to be a part of a larger network of coverage. Getting to cover important issues like this, and to pitch my own story ideas to my editors about what I thought readers would be interested in, were some of the best parts of my Dean’s internship.