Soggy shoes and intrepid news: Current covers the White House

By Dean’s Intern Braeden Waddell at Current

December 2019

Braeden WaddellThis semester working at Current as an Editorial Intern has been one of the most exciting professional experiences in my life. I’ve done a little bit of everything, and I loved every second of it. Aside from regularly writing stories on a variety of issues in the realm of public media, I also reported on a Twitch live stream, videotaped the opening day first-ever full exhibition of Bob Ross paintings, and traveled to a museum covering

But, the wildest experience I had while working at Current was getting a press pass to attend an award ceremony at the White House where President Trump handed out the National Medal of Arts.

Politics aside, the experience was wonderful. After passing through security, I looked around confused as to where the press briefing room was located. I met a producer for a public media organization in the Czech Republic who took me under his wing, guiding me through the winding pathway into a room of reporters preparing for the ceremony.

I waited for a while, taking too many selfies and chatting with other reporters.

Then it began: a mass exodus of reporters emerged from the back area of the briefing room and filed outside, cameras and notepads in hand. I followed suit, and found myself standing out in the brisk November air.

Sprinklers started going off around us, and before long a small river formed in the path leading up to the White House entrance, soaking many fancy pairs of shoes, mine included. But even then, I never got cold feet.

A White House official led us into the main building and into the room where the awards would be presented. As we took our spots behind the audience, she yelled: “reporters, get back here!”

We’d literally overstepped our boundaries.

Once the flustered White House aids had rounded us all up, we waited while listening to beautiful classical music played by members of a military band.

All at once, every camera in the room turned toward the door as Vice President Mike Pence entered the room. The sounds of clamoring reporters were quickly drowned out in applause.

The ceremony began, and Trump entered the room. He passed out the medals and recognized each recipient, sometimes going off-script to comment positively or negatively on each individual’s history in relationship to himself and his administration.

Before I even knew it, the ceremony was over and we were rushed out.

Another reporter was trying to take a selfie on an iPad outside the White House with little success. I took his photo, and he took mine, and we walked out together.
He told me he’d been there many times before, and told me he hoped to see me there again someday.

I hope so too.