By Hope Rurik
Coming to Washington, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. After my first two weeks of meandering through foreign affairs, features and business, I felt pressure from Jody to look for stories that I could get published.
Without any other leads on who might want work from Washington, I fell back on papers I knew in south Louisiana and issues I knew would interest them, which meant writing about oil and gas.
If someone’s leading a discussion on the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, I’m there. House committee meetings on the future of U.S. drilling? Got it.
I didn’t think I would end up on a beat in Washington, and I certainly didn’t see myself writing about oil and gas.
At first, landing on the issue frustrated and angered me. I had left Louisiana and was still writing about it. But finding myself in the same place over and over again put me around the same people and the same reporters.
I’ve met Washington bureau reporters from major papers in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region and had the opportunity to see how they interact with the congressmen, press aides and each other. I’ve heard what kinds of questions they ask, and I know where to go after I’ve completed my piece to compare.
Going to hearings on the hill has morphed from something I dread to something I look forward to. There’s usually a lot to unpack, considering the hearings can go on for hours, but I get to be around reporters who know what they’re doing, and I learn more and more about issues that have relevance to my home state.
Plus, I got published.
It may not be what I expected when I stepped off the plane, but it’s been a learning experience that’s left me with confidence that I can use to pick up where I left off when I leave, hopefully for a job in Louisiana.