A Whirlwind of Deadlines and Tunnels on the Hill

By Dean’s Intern Liz Weber at the Durango Herald

Liz WeberI shifted my weight, trying to ease the blisters forming against my brand new flats. The glare of camera lights and the barely-contained energy of a press line only served to highlight my discomfort. It was my third week as the Colorado congressional reporter for The Durango Herald. And I was covering the State of the Union.

I had 30 minutes until my deadline. Two more interviews to conduct and I, along with a few dozen of the country’s top reporters, were waiting for the senators and representatives to exit the hall. And I couldn’t quite shake the fear that I forgot what the Colorado senator looked like.

Until there he was, rounding the corner with his communications director behind him. I stepped forward. He agreed to a brief walk-and-talk interview as we weaved through the crowd of other reporters.

My time as a Dean’s Intern for the small newspaper felt like this a lot of the time. A whirlwind of tight deadlines and getting lost in the maze of hallways and tunnels. The highs of learning on the fly and pressing through the uncertainty to secure the needed-interview. The honor of being one of the only reporters on the Hill representing the concerns of southwest Colorado.

There were stories of lost funding during the government shutdown, analyzing environmental voting records for a reelection campaign, a retrospective on a governor’s first month in office and the possibility of a 2020 presidential bid in the face of a cancer diagnosis.

With only a few more weeks left, I still get lost in the maze of connected tunnels beneath the Capitol. But I’ve tossed out the uncomfortable flats in favor of an old pair of boots. I can do a walk-and-talk interview with the best of them now.