Sunday, May 4, 2014

Chip Off the 'Ol Herblock

It all came back to me.

That feeling that I was missing something. Or that something was missing me. Perhaps, both...? 

I could not believe my eyes as I peered into the window panels of the double doors of the Coolidge Auditorium. One step away from a journalism legend. Mr. Bob Woodward. In town like D.C., his name still rings true, well depending on where you fall on the political spectrum. Regardless, I could not believe my luck that I still got an invite for the annual Herblock Prize. It's a combination of an award ceremony and lecture, plus mingling and munchies afterward. This year's winner was Jen Sorensen, the first female recipient. Her work is pretty darn good. I was unable to attend last year but when I received my invitation in the mail this spring, my RSVP was a swift affirmative. I invited a college friend but she had to back out at the last minute. Sucks for her. 

As a little kid, I honestly thought it was cool to wake up, eat cereal and read the newspaper. I have always been a voracious reader and a lover of words. For years, I would anxiously await the delivery of the Washington Post. I lived in a small apartment with my family but always used reading as an outlet to other worlds.
I distinctly remember learning about the Watergate scandal in school. The names Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were just names I knew early on. I eventually read Katharine Graham's autobiography because of my fascination with the Post and its history, which includes Pulitzer Prize reporting from Woodward and Bernstein. (Herb Block also earned a few Pulitzers for her political cartoons). I highly recommend her book, Personal History! It's one of the best autobiographical novels I have read. 

Back the main event...
Being in a packed room at the Library of Congress with Bob Woodward on stage was inspiring and fun. His candid stories of his colleague and friend Herb Block were enlightening, humorous and insightful. Political cartoons carried a lot of weight and truly impacted the public's perception of national leaders and current events during that time. It was endearing to hear about Block's work and contributions from his colleagues. I had the pleasure of meeting a woman who worked directly for him for several years. All I can say is - it must have been an exciting time to be in journalism, especially at the Washington Post, especially in a place like Washington, D.C. 

Considering that I initially thought I would have a career in journalism, it was fitting to be at this event. I cannot wait to attend more in the future. 
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