Review editors attend journalism conference in Washington, D.C.


Chuy Benitez

Review editors toured the Newseum on their Washington, D.C.trip before it closed in January.

Indrani Maitra, Copy Writer

Review editors and advisers observed Congressional debates in the U.S. House of Representatives, visited with Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (‘93), and toured the Newseum during a trip to Washington, D.C. the week before Thanksgiving. 

The nine students and faculty advisers Chuy Benitez and Shelley Stein (‘88) travelled to the nation’s capital for the National Student Press Association convention, where they attended sessions on topics from lede-writing to podcasting. 

Assistant Online Editors-in-Chief Laney Chang and Fareen Dhuka and Online Section Editor Ashley Yen attended a session called “Breaking the Wheel” led by Alex McNamee, a Scholastic Newspapers Online representative. The session taught the importance of digital journalism and how to maximize the reader’s experience. Chang, Dhuka and Yen implemented the trove of skills they learned with a comprehensive redesign of the Review Online homepage. 

“It was difficult, and there was a definite learning curve,” Dhuka said. “But it was fun to toy around and learn about all the different features that SNO has for design. It was definitely worth it.”

As conventioneers, the students were given free entry to the Newseum, a vast media-focused museum in Washington, D.C. that is slated to close at the end of the year. 

“It was powerful seeing the impact that journalism has on the way we perceive world events,” junior Assignments Editor Abigail Poag said. “I could spend hours and hours at the Newseum. I’m so sad it’s closing.” 

Cameron Hull (‘14), a staff assistant for Congresswoman Fletcher, arranged the special tour of the Capitol and a conversation with Texas Tribune Washington Bureau Chief Abby Livingston in the Rayburn Room. Livingston described her experience as a political journalist in an age where reporters are subject to extreme scrutiny, particularly since the election of President Donald Trump.    

“Seeing an actual journalist was so fascinating,” Yen said. “I loved how she emphasized the importance of our roles; that really inspired me.” 

Livingston also spoke about the importance of Houston as a microcosm of political progress, and the importance of aspiring journalists in such a critical city. 

“Houston is important because when Houston changes, the nation changes,” Livingston said.  

After the Capitol tour, Review editors watched the House vote on a bill concerning the safety of health care and social service workers in person. Almost all of the representatives congregated in the House gallery to vote. 

“It was a really cool experience to see all the representatives in person and watching them do their daily jobs,” Managing Editor-in-Chief Sophia Lima said. 

House Intelligence Committee wrapped up the final week of Impeachment hearings in the same building as Congresswoman Fletcher’s office. Representative Adam Schiff, who led the Impeachment hearings and is a good friend of Fletcher, even visited the editors in the gallery benches to personally say hello.

“Seeing our government in action, especially in the midst of this turbulent political era, was fascinating,” Administrative Editor-in-Chief Mia Fares said. “The trip to D.C. was a one-of-a-kind experience.”