Looking over my last entry, I kind of get the feeling that I was feeling a little overwhelmed and homesick. It seems that I just fell off the face of the earth, never to be heard from again.
You won’t get rid of me that easy.
When I returned to the District after Thanksgiving, I was feeling a little down and a lot homesick. The holidays really are the most wonderful time of the year to me and my family. Every weekend we go to a different Christmas display and spend too much money buying each other gifts, baking and cooking stupendous meals. I’ve just finished eating my big Christmas dinner with my family before I sat down to finally post this entry.
But I didn’t really crawl under a rock my last three weeks in the city. I spent a couple of days developing a few story ideas and then dug in, barely getting two of the three stories finished by the end of the internship. In my last few weeks I practiced a new writing technique, learned a few things I need to do to make my stories really pop and tried my hand at some more feature stories and video.
I finished a data mining story with just two days left to my internship, and it was picked up by the Scripps Howard News Service and just about every gossip website because I used the word “Hollywood” in my lede. A few days after I posted my story, the Washington Post released another installment in their series “Top Secret America” about data mining on the local level that gives a lot more information than my story did. I urge you to read the entire series.
My last story was a straight-up feature about a busker. Mark Francis Nickens was one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. He has been playing on the streets of the District since the mid-1980s, but is quick to point out that he’s never been homeless. Mark did a lot to try to dispel some of the stereotypes of street musicians for me. He explained that while playing at various Metro stations around the city he is often treated as if he’s a homeless beggar, instead of someone who is working to entertain.
I just worry that after he read my story about him he’ll decide to burn an effigy of me, just like he says he did with an asian videographer who portrayed Mark in a way he didn’t appreciate. I guess I’ll find out if I see Mark post something on Facebook about having a cookout with a brunette Barbie!
Even though I was pretty homesick toward the end of my internship, I wouldn’t trade a single experience I had in the District. I got to meet so many interesting people and push myself farther than I thought I could go. Plus, I made some new friends and had a few adventures.