SHFW, Washington D.C.
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Busy Work

So much for weekly entries.

In all reality, I haven’t done anything super exciting or covered any particularly sensational stories lately. Most of the last couple of weeks have been spent finishing this story about community involvement in redistricting next year. I got a crash course in the process and learned all about how people can submit their own maps so they can make sure their own rights and interests are protected.

It was one of those complex topics that made me feel alternately brain dead and fascinated. The high stakes of the process was interesting; these districts will influence elections for the next 10 years. The volume of information and level of involvement in the process made it feel almost overwhelming at times.

I was relieved when I finished, but I’d hate to have this knowledge and background work go to waste after this story. I’m hoping to be able to keep following this story on the local level when I get home for a local news outlet.

Beyond that, I had my first story published by a news outlet a couple of weeks ago. Trish Choate, the Scripps Howard News Service reporter who acts as the Washington correspondent for Scripps’s three Texas newspapers, needed help one day writing a story about the lack of a cost of living increase for Social Security recipients.

Trish got a tip from one of the editors at the Texas papers that there was not going to be a COLA, but Congress was still getting a raise. Fortunately, I found out that Congress had voted for the second straight year not to get their own cost of living raise before I accused someone of greed, but discovering that fact took the wind right out of my story.

So, instead, I wrote a story about Congress really isn’t doing anything to make up for the lack of a COLA, and they don’t really intend to right now. It wasn’t quite as interesting as the original story, but it was fact. And that’s all that really matters.

My next project is going to be one story of a package all of the interns are working on. We’re all looking into different contributions into campaign financing to look at trends in donations over the last few years. We should have it finished by Wednesday, just in time to take the last half of the week off to attend the Online News Association annual conference.

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I’m something you don’t see every day: A person under 80 who walks around with oxygen everywhere she goes. I have Sjogren's Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder which, with the help of my stubborn refusal to go to the doctor, caused some pretty deep damage to my lungs. My lack of breath slowed me down for a while, but I'm back to adventuring - just with Gus, my little oxygen tank, in tow. This year's goal is to complete the 52 Hike Challenge and get myself into a healthier state of being. Join me on my quest to become oxygen free!

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