Covering the State of the Union and Much More for The Durango Herald

By Dean’s Intern Skye Witley at The Durango Herald

SkyeWitleyAs President Joe Biden walked into the House chamber to deliver his first State of the Union address, I tuned out the applause and prepared to write. Sitting in the press gallery, I covered Biden’s speech as the congressional correspondent for The Durango Herald, racing to send in a comprehensive story by the deadline for next day’s print paper. The experience epitomized the mission of this internship: translating national conversations into timely stories that are relevant to the residents of Southwest Colorado. While hitting Biden’s main talking points, I also focused on policy priorities supported by the Colorado delegation, and I covered the moment Rep. Boebert disrupted Biden’s speech.

As a reporter for The Durango Herald, I write about federal policy that affects Southwest Colorado and the movements of Rep. Lauren Boebert and Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper. My days consist of attending congressional hearings, interviewing lawmakers and research. Lots of research. In the three short months I’ve worked there, I’ve learned many valuable lessons about congressional reporting, from how to establish relationships with press offices to simply navigating the halls of Congress (with no maps, it’s harder than it sounds). My editor, Shane Benjamin, has also been a crucial teacher.

Writing for The Durango Herald has undeniably been the highlight of my undergraduate reporting career. The internship has bolstered my interest in pursuing congressional reporting as my career and lent me confidence in my abilities to report in the “real world.” I was also blessed with the opportunity to visit Durango and work in the paper’s newsroom, an affirming experience having spent the majority of my undergraduate career in virtual settings. I can’t wait to see who takes the reigns next, and I’ll be forever grateful that I got to round out my time at American University working with the small yet mighty Durango Herald.