My 2018-19 Fellowship at D.C. Witness

D.C. Witness is the embodiment of transparency in a time when sensationalism is ubiquitous.

When I graduated a year ago with my journalism degree in hand, I took a look at the current state of journalism and made the realization that I wanted no part of it.

I wanted something based in truth with very little room to veer off into the hype that accompanies pay walls and politics. So, when I was offered the position as the Assistant Editor of D.C. Witness, a data news outlet tracking all of the homicides in the District of Columbia, I took it.

I previously interned at D.C. Witness and learned a lot about the attitude and reporting skills prudent to being competent and fruitful in what I believed to be my future journalistic career. So upon my return, I looked forward to expanding my portfolio with articles and projects that were based on hard data. However, in retrospect, I can honestly say I didn’t realize all that I was getting in to.

D.C. Witness is non-profit where I had the amazing opportunity to work with various batches of interns, each with their own unique backgrounds and goals.

At D.C. Witness there’s a constant exchange of knowledge and wisdom, regardless of your position. My editor taught me, with much mirth, to strive to be concise and succinct in the way I deliver language. The many interns I oversaw, made me realize how bizarre the rules of journalism are. They taught me patience and at the same time grounded me.

The first time I brought a new batch of interns to the H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse for their first hearing, I felt reoriented and recalibrated. After sitting through arraignments, prelims, statuses and so on, there’s no doubt that one becomes desensitized to the cycle. But, fresh eyes always change that. The wonder and reflection that new staff brings to the table is something I will always cherish.

My interns encouraged me, they inspired me. Some of them came in among their undergraduate studies, others were taking a gap year to study for the LSAT or other graduate entry exams. And regardless of their status, each of them put in their best effort in order to make D.C. Witness their springboard.

It’s been a year since I began working at D.C. Witness and as I say goodbye I’m also saying hello to a new adventure — grad school. D.C. Witness gave me a platform to work on not only data but policy. Come the Fall, I will be pursuing a degree in public policy and management at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

If I had to sum up my year at D.C. Witness, I’d say: When I began working at D.C. Witness, I sought a way to bolster societal inefficiencies subjectivity. D.C. Witness provided a platform that not only allowed me, but also pushed me to continue that work.