When the Beat is Capitol Hill

By Dean’s Intern Josephine Peterson at The Durango Herald

My time on Capitol Hill as the D.C. correspondent for The Durango Herald was full of learning on the job moments. One of the best pieces of advice I got is to accept you are going to make mistakes at the beginning, but learn to 

fail fast. Being a reporter on Capitol Hill is a beast in itself. There are certain elevators you can’t take, zero maps anywhere, and tours abound. On my first day, I got lost six times! The amount of access the press gets on the Hill makes the embarrassments worth it. After going to a committee hearing one day, I needed a quote from a congressman. I had to chase him down the hall and when I finally met up with him, I was so nervous I wrote gibberish in my notebook. I was more than glad to have recorded the conversation. After that initial encounter with a legislator, I became more confident and was able to get a quote from a press secretary or a delegate waiting in halls or grabbing lunch. This internship gave me access most reporters never get.