Staying Steadfast in Critical Times

McLarenBLogPhotoby Dean’s Intern Amanda McLaren at The Washington Post

My semester as Dean’s Intern for The Washington Post’s Metro desk kicked off on January 20, 2017 — the day of President Trump’s inauguration — and things haven’t slowed down since.  Along the way, I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with seasoned reporters, editors and photojournalists while covering a variety of news events.

  • There was the unseasonably warm day in January, shortly after Trump took office, when I was tasked with covering the Greenpeace crane protest.  Though most of the day was spent watching and waiting, I got to do so alongside professional reporters (including one I knew from when I interned at WJLA back in the day!).
  • Then there was the day I got swept up in the “pandamonium” over Bao Bao’s departure, reporting from Dulles as she took off to China on the FedEx “Panda Express.”

There have been harder days, too.

  • Like the day I sat on Phyllis Stover’s doorstep, listening to her grieve her son’s death, while she considered which shirt and tie combination to dress him in for his wake.
  • Or the day I watched a mother’s anxieties play out in public view, as she waited at the Dulles international gate, unsure whether her daughters had made through it to the U.S. during the pause in the Trump administration’s travel ban.
  • And, most recently, there was the day I was allowed into a juvenile court proceeding to cover the sentencing of a teenage mother convicted of second-degree murder.

At some point in all of this, the Post introduced its new motto, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”

Dramatic?  A tad bit.

But it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of our collective purpose as journalists, especially given the recent rhetoric coming out of the White House.  Moving forward, I can say confidently how lucky I feel to be a part of a “legacy media” organization at this time in our nation’s history, and I hope to continue to learn from the Post’s professionals who show up each day, steadfast in their work, regardless of what criticism is coming their way.