09 April 2008

Talking Politics with Speaker Pelosi

Oh boy, have you ever had something so amazing happen that you just can't find the words to do it justice? Because that is exactly how I feel about the last few days I spent in DC for the filming of an interview with Nancy Pelosi for mtvU's Editorial Board.

I've only been gone for three days, but it feels like a lifetime of experiences have occurred. First of all, it was my first time in the nation's capital, and that was just huge for me. When I arrived Sunday night, I called up my friend Josh and he took me for a two hour walking tour of all the monuments and statues and important buildings.

Good thing we did that, because starting Monday morning, I didn't have any time to sight-see at all.

Of course the actual experience of taking part in a professional TV news show and meeting one of the most important women in the world was the most impressive of all.

So here's what happened in a nutshell.

All day Monday was spent figuring out what questions we would ask, how we would ask them, and how we would follow up if she tried to give us a "smooth" or "politician" response. We met with Charlie Mahtesian, national politics editor of Politico.com, to help us ask the tough questions the right way. As a journalist, I have never had to think so hard about my questions. I definitely learned a lot.

I was working with three amazing college students from around the country: Lily Lamboy from Smith College, Micheal O'Brien from U of Michigan, and Jake Sherman from George Washington. These three are really brilliant and I felt honored to be working with them. I was also working with mtvU people, who were all really cool, and I got to meet some folks who are pretty high up in the chain of command. I even met some Viacom people, as Viacom owns MTV. It was really exciting meeting all these important people, and they seemed excited to meet us as this is only the second episode of Editorial Board, and it is still an exciting and unpredictable project for them.

Tuesday was the big day. We woke up super early, grabbed breakfast, and met in the GW Gelman Library where we were shooting. We rehearsed our questions again, discussed follow-ups, got make-up touched up, and joked nervously to calm ourselves. The room was chaotic with lots of cameras, bright lights, tons of people from mtvU, Viacom, politco.com, even the AP.

Suddenly, as though it were the most natural thing in the world, Speaker Pelosi entered the room. She greeted us warmly, we shook hands, and sat down. Lily asked her about a small pin she was wearing, which she said was from Tibet. No more than a minute or so after she sat down, it was time for the interview to commence.

All in all it went smoothly. We got into some interesting conversations about China and Tibet, the war in Iraq, and the Democratic primaries. She was pretty smooth, and didn't say anything that would get her into trouble, but it was still interesting conversation. Sadly, we ran out of time way before we ran out of questions, but that's journalism.

Look at us! We even made the news!
Washington Post - Pelosi: Reduce number of superdelegates

Politico - Pelosi at odds with Petraeus at mtvU forum

Politic0 - Pelosi: Petraeus kicking the can

Blogs from my fellow panelists:
GW Hatchet Blog - MTV, The Hatchet and Nancy Pelosi
Christian Science Monitor - Speaking with Speaker Pelosi

Arriving home last night was odd. There is still so much on my mind from the whole experience; I am kind of overwhelmed by it all. This was something I will always remember, and will probably have to look at the pictures and video clips to make sure I didn't imagine it all.


moorebrigid@gmail.com said...

oh man, this is awesome! Your question was perfectly phrased. Glad you had fun!

Paco Taco Mike said...

great stuff! great question to ask! now I wonder what her reaction would be to today's parade schedule change :/. Talk to you soon.

austinokane said...

The interview is great you should be really proud that you got to be apart of something like that, it shows your talent.

laura_p said...

Thanks guys! This was such an exciting experience, it's hard to express it in words. I really appreciate the support!

Fashionbible said...

Nancy Pelosi is a bad bitch (excuse my french Laura). She is so smart and wise on all the events of the world. You did a fantastic job capturing who she is and the different elements that make her a great woman, along with MTVU.

david silver said...

congratulations, laura, for getting such a great opportunity and doing such a fantastic job with it. you make USF and digital journalism proud! i was especially encouraged to hear speaker pelosi side with human rights advocates. great interview!

Leigh said...

kudos to you, Laura! Great job! :)

laura_p said...

Aw gee, you guys are too kind.

kate elston said...

laura, i just stumbled across your blog and WOW! this is so cool!! congratulations. what an opportunity!

....J.Michael Robertson said...

Well done. Good question and, as Silver has suggested, *newsworthy*.

Jacob Marx said...

That really is one of the best questions you could have asked. Good timing and phrasing/framing.