If I were ever accused of living by mottos, then my most serious charge would be following the wise-old philosophy of “fake it until you make it.” True to that creed, in my head I’ve lived in Washington D.C. for years as a Beltway insider who brunches at DuPont and sees things at the Kennedy Center. And for all of the glory from that quasi-imagined existence, I now get a chance at the reality.
It is actually difficult to wrap my head around, but finally this week, that memoir title I came up with in 7th grade – ‘From Washington to Washington’ – has transitioned into the realm of possibility.
It’s all possible because in the last eight days I have graduated college, moved into an apartment in Northwest D.C. and been hired as an election researcher with NBC News.
I really can’t believe it.
The clichés could bubble over at this point, but it is very strange to be headed in a direction you always wanted to travel in. It’s humbling, exciting and terrifying all at the same time, but I am constantly aware that living this reality comes at great debt to people from coast to coast who took a chance on me, sometimes without much merit. For that, I will always be grateful.
The journey is far from done, but now it comes with an advanced destination and an updated set of directions. The road will surly have its rough spots and the scenery will be ever changing, but it’s sure to be exciting. Here we go.
Space Shuttle Discovery makes a final pass over the Washington D.C. region April 17, 2012 atop a NASA 747 jet on it's way to be permanently displayed at the Smithsonian. (Jordan J. Frasier iPhone Photo)
It’s hard to believe that my last post was a commentary on breaking news – written almost a year ago. Today, as I vow to resurrect my website to a more active life, I again write with the immediacy of news.
This morning NASA flew the space shuttle Discovery from it’s home at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to its new home at the Smithsonian in Northern Virginia. Marking the historic occasion, NASA paraded the first shuttle to be museum interned through the skies of Washington D.C before bringing the ship in for a landing atop a 747-jumbo jet at Dulles Field.
Watching the shuttle make its final flight was an awe-inspiring moment and reminded me why I love the news. It’s moments like today’s flight that enable journalists to write the first drafts of history and there is nothing more exciting than that.
My vantage point was not as iconic as the one for thousands who gathered along the National Mall to watch the flight, and my photo doesn’t do the moment justice, but getting to see Discovery in person was simply, amazing. I now understand the allure of space.
There was never a better time to again have my journalistic ambitions renewed as I count down the last three-weeks of college. It seems quite unbelievable that I’ll soon be a member of the working world, but I couldn’t be more excited.
The front page headlines from the New York Times and the Washington Post May 2, 2011. I bought these papers to save the front pages.
Sunday night’s announcement that Osama bin Laden was located and killed, as the result of a U.S. operation in Pakistan, is no doubt historic. But its place in history comes not just from the end of the decade’s long search since 9/11; the way the story broke also deserves a distinguished mark in the record.
I will never forget sitting in my room watching my favorite prime time program, refreshing my Twitter stream, and seeing a single tweet from a reporter saying, “POTUS to address the nation at 10:30 p.m. eastern.” I follow nearly 1,400 people on twitter. The vast majority of them are journalists. And many of them are in political circles. But this was the only tweet mentioning anything about Obama speaking to the nation.
Immediately I began searching for more information. Was the tweet a mistake? No. The lone tweet was accurate and Twitter soon began waking up from its Sunday slumber to a chorus of questions about why POTUS was planning to speak at the strangest of all times to make news: Sunday night after 10 p.m. Whatever he was going to say was going to be big.
The press always knows what the president will say when he speaks. The White House is a leaky glass when it comes to speeches and remarks and there is always some degree of advanced information for reporters to broadcast. But not this time. Speculation was rampant as to what President Obama would say. Everyone knew it was big, but no one seemed to know what it would be. Continue reading
The Neil Simon Theater in New York City showing the new musical Catch Me If You Can, April 23, 2011. (Jordan J. Frasier)
On Saturday I took a short jaunt up to New York City to take in my first show on Broadway. I’ve seen your classic Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Wicked on National Tours, but I’d never been to an actual New York Broadway show.
The honor of my first New York show went to the new musical Catch Me If You Can. It’s the same story from the 2002 film staring Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abignale Jr. — a young conman who steals more than 2 million dollars as he impersonates a doctor, lawyer and pilot while gallivanting around the world.
The story transfers seamlessly to the stage with toe tapping musical numbers that leave you snapping your fingers for days after the curtain closes. And the talent of the cast is truly awe-inspiring as they show the audience the magic of “turning butter into cream” and how to embrace life even with reality hot on your trail!
I’ve always loved this story because of its themes. I know Abignale is a crock, but his spirit is not ill intentioned. He’s just a kid trying to become something by faking it ‘till he makes it, even if that means staying a few steps ahead of reality. I’m a big believer is faking it ‘till you make it because that little mental trick can give you the confidence to cross that final barrier and before you know it, you are what you always wanted to be.
Now that I’ve seen the movie and the musical, I’ve just downloaded the novel to my Kindle and I can’t wait to experience the story in that medium.
It was great fun to file into the Neil Simon Theater on a rainy New York afternoon. I was amazed at how ornate and small the theater was, but it was great! I love to just walk around New York, so after the show there were stops at 30 Rock and Times Square and then it was back to D.C.
Here’s a little preview video of the show so you can get a taste of it.
ABC World News Anchor Diane Sawyer at the Newseum in Washington D.C., April 19, 2011. Sawyer was taking part in the Reel Journalism series. (Jordan J. Frasier)
One of the great things about Washington D.C. is that it attracts some pretty big names. Last night Diane Sawyer came to the nation’s capital to take part in the Newseum’s Reel Journalism series, which looks at important portrayals of journalism in film.
I could have cared less about the film; I just wanted to hear what Sawyer had to say. So I told my professors I was taking the evening off and I headed downtown.
Skipping class was a great decision because Sawyer was both informative and inspiring. She has reached the pinnacle of journalism and it was invaluable to hear from her, but since I did skip class, I thought I should prepare a short report of what she had to say. So here is Sawyer’s advice: Continue reading
“You are the product of history and community, of opportunity and legacy. Your success is not exceptional or mysterious. It is grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky – but all critical to making you who you are.”
–Malcolm Gladwell, “Outliers”
One of the perks of my harried schedule this semester is the two-hours three-days-a-week I spend on metro trains. Often, heavy eyelids tempt me to catch a few moments of sleep, but more often I take the time to read.
At the beginning of the semester, I envisioned this time as textbook reading, but as the weeks have passed, I’ve grasped these hours for the selfish reading of the books that fill my Kindle.
I think for most of my life I’ve been a fake reader. I value the idea of reading and cherish the touch of books, but rarely have I prized the act of reading books. There were always distractions and other outlets to take attention. Never before have I had such consistent gaps of time where really the only thing to do is read. In the tunnels where the metro train runs, there is no television, no Internet and no phone service. There’s a light, a bench and a chance to read.
In this time I’ve gone through several books and my most recent conquest was Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers.” The premise of the book is simple: why are the most successful people successful? The answer: because they work harder than everyone else.
The actual reason also involves some lucky coincidences, but every person who might happen upon these same lucky coincidences won’t know what to do with them – because everyone doesn’t have the same drive of an outlier.
It is a fascinating read and I’m crazed by the ideas it presents. Bravo to Gladwell!
So I’ve missed the entire month of February. It wasn’t for a lack of activity, but rather an excess of it. I think I can safely say I’ve never been busier as I juggle an internship with NBC, a full class schedule, a campus media job and a volunteer gig. But I’m beginning to think I wouldn’t have any other type of schedule.
Here’s a rapid-fire update:
–NBC is amazing and I’m working on the Today show and Decision 2012. I’ve never met more quality people than those who inhabit the NBC News Washington Bureau.