I could do this every four years.
In fact, I want to cover political and historical events like these for a living. Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications has revealed a passion within me for journalism and reporting that reached its highest peak this past weekend in Washington, D.C.
My school's daily newspaper, the Daily Orange, knew I was headed to the inauguration and asked me to be the eyes on the ground and live tweet for them. I took this as a serious journalistic opportunity to gather exactly what I saw and report it the instant it caught my attention. Through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter I was able to tell a complete story bullet points at a time.
The crowds that amassed at each inaugural event significantly hampered my ability as well as a lot of people's ability to post in real time. For example, at the inauguration ceremony open to the public, where an estimated 800,000 spectators witnessed a moment in history, there weren't enough cell towers in the world to boost the signal to tweet anything as it happened. But taking a break from live tweeting and just experiencing the ceremony in real time for myself and the others close by, I observed and absorbed a lot more.
I found that when I live tweeted this weekend I missed more things than I reported. Despite that, it kept my brain active for information and put my concise writing skills to the test to take a moment that lasted two hours and narrow it to two lines.
The Candlelight Celebration took place the night of his official swearing in, which occurred earlier that morning. The ceiling at the National Building Museum stood what seemed like miles above our heads -- just high enough to accommodate NBA Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing. Along with Ewing, other standouts like Rev. Al Sharpton and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel were in attendance awaiting the President's arrival. Meeting Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to Obama, was also a treat.
The President glided on stage with a light-hearted demeanor following a passionate introduction from First Lady Michelle Obama. "I love Michelle Obama," was his opener, "and I love her bangs," was his response to her new, much talked about hairstyle. The President said he didn't want to spoil all the good lines he had in store for his inauguration speech, but he couldn't help himself by throwing a sound bite our way.
"When we put our shoulders to the wheel of history, we move," he said highlighting his mantra of togetherness and reflecting on his first term political victories.
The tweets I fired off at a pace similar to a stenographer in a courtroom forced me to use my hearing and not my eyesight to report what I witnessed. So much of journalism today is based more on speed and less focused on the facts of the story. Doing both at the same time was not only a challenge to accomplish but a test for me to see if I could keep up with the fast-paced 24-hour news cycle. I discovered that it wasn't just that I could do it but each tweet or Instagram post I sent out made me hungry to gather the next little detail I could share with someone. But like the old baseball adage, you can't throw the ball before you field it, I need to field the facts correctly before throwing a story out to the public.
The overcast skies and brisk conditions brought numbness to my feet, as I looked dead on at the Capitol building. President Obama took his second oath of office in as many days to the thunderous applause of clapping leather gloves. His speech riled the crowd but was concise; certainly he ate less of the stage then the inaugural poet and the constant anti-abortion hollering of one crowd member. Regardless, the imagery of thousands of waving American flags hundreds of yards away across the pond, visually reverberated a moment of indisputable acceptance of the Commander-in-Chief.
The inauguration ceremony was still heavy on my mind as I attended the inaugural ball later that evening. Also on my mind was how formal I felt wearing my first tuxedo. Performances from Katy Perry, Alicia Keys and Smokey Robinson lit up the massive hall at the Convention Center.
For the final dances, Jamie Foxx sang for the vice president and his wife as Jennifer Hudson did the same for the President and the first lady. President Obama's dance with Michelle left the audience with the couple's physical appearance not a verbal take home message. After a marathon of a weekend, the President had said what he needed to say, leaving his supporters wanting four more years.