Hilltop on the Hill in Washington

In fall 2009, 17 Journalism and Corporate Communications & Public Affairs students are studying in Washington, D.C., in October for the Hilltop on The Hill 2009 program.

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The power of the spoken word

310.jpg An update from Deanna, a senior CCPA major:

Wow. I cannot say enough positive things about my Washington, D.C., experience.
It was fantastic. Props to Dr. Kirk for putting on such a wonderful program.225.JPG

I want to touch on a few specific experiences I had, aside from being totally camera-happy in the nation’s capital (I sure did love the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial). We spoke with a lot of people who were working directly with the press, which definitely inspired me because I could see myself doing this one day.

We met with Taylor Thorney, Press Secretary for Bob McDonnell. We spoke with President Obama’s regional Press Secretary for the South. We also met Scooter, who works for the Democratic National Convention and has written speeches for Hillary Clinton and then-Presidential candidate Barack Obama.

These three people, along with many other people we spoke with, have a direct influence on how the media, and ultimately the American people, portray the candidates. They have the power to convey certain messages to certain people, just as the candidates want them to do. Their jobs were fascinating.

When we visited the Holocaust Museum, we saw the traveling exhibit of Hitler’s Propaganda. This was incredible, in the non-traditional sense of the word. How is it possible that Nazis could use such persuasive propaganda to commit genocide? Hitler’s picture had a quote of his written above it: “All great, earth-shaking events have been brought about by the spoken word.” Wow. How powerful.

224.JPGNow, this made me think. After speaking with all the people directly involved with the press, people who directly represent their candidate, it made me think that they have the power to (more or less) send whatever message they want – as do the candidates. 073.JPG

In America, when we think of our freedoms, we know freedom of speech is what makes our country progress. Without the spoken word, many movement leaders would not have been able to change the world for the good – like the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who would not have made progress with civil rights. But what about if the spoken word is used for harm – to commit genocide?

This made me realize the power of communication, and how we really need to study the spoken word. It can be so powerful. I truly believe the spoken word is earth-changing, but we need to always fight for changing the world for the good.

In addition to our speakers and visiting the Holocaust Museum, we had the opportunity to do the Mall Crawl. What an awesome experience! The Lincoln Memorial was so beautiful, and much larger than I had anticipated. The Washington Monument was awesome, and the Smithsonian Castle was just stunning. Needless to say, I took a lot of pictures … 359 to be exact!

Overall, Washington, D.C., was an amazing experience. I cannot thank Dr. Kirk enough for putting on such a fabulous program. It was invigorating, educational and just a lot of fun!

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