I’m On!

Posted on September 21, 2012

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Mahoganie Jade Browne in her government name (Tiffany E. Browne) work flow mode

It’s Friday. I’m savoring my previous day. It’s something about when I’m in journalist mode…it’s a rush. When I score an assignment I’m gleeful. I immediately go into work mode locking down all the logistics. Then, the closer it gets to the time of the interview, I’m a ball of nerves. Are my questions meaty enough as to where they will require informative, meaty answers? I take this seriously. I don’t like a whole lot of fluff in my stories. Is my breath in check? Where’s the peppermint? Can my note taking keep the pace of the conversation? What has me even more nervous is the fact that, since working with Monarch Magazine, I’ve been eased out of my shell of being mainly a print journalist into a web correspondent; release of my first video is coming soon. That brings on more bubble guts, especially as I fret over my hair. Then something else happens. Once I’m at the location and I’m on… I’m ON. Nervous energy is BLOCKED.

Yesterday was no different. Let me back track a bit by saying…it has been a while since I attended or covered any of the events during the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislation Conference. The last time I actually worked it was in 2006 and the last time I attended any events as a spectator was in 2009. I had no intentions of attending anything this year until I received an email from the Monarch office.

I was asked to do another video segment, this time capturing noteworthy people including Jamal Simmons and President of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Elsie L. Scott and the biggie – wait for it –  Gen. Colin Powell.

Ok, no problem.

I should say that the interviews were loosely confirmed. I would not know any concrete times until the day of. Between Monarch and the press coordinator for the CBC  we had to see what time each person would be available to speak. The conference is huge with various sessions going on and people floating around from one session to the next, including the prominent folks that are speaking on panels and so forth. Still, I did all my preps before hand and when the day came I was in knots.  I had long gotten dress before it was time for me to head to the Convention Center. After taking my daughter to school I came home and tried to relax. I still had an hour before getting there. Instead I paced the floor(s).

I don’t understand all the nervous energy I feel. I feel confident as a journalist. Ok… sometimes I do wonder if the story I’m doing is good enough.. I mean does it inform and if it is a piece that poses to state a truth, do I bring it out? Yes, I fret about this because I feel that what I do is a service to the public. However, I also want to have fun with it.  I guess  that’s why I prefer to write for magazines because of the creative editorial “spin” I can put on a story. I’m a storyteller. I love to illustrate through words; especially in narrative form.

My mother accompanied me as it was advised that I could – or rather I SHOULD – bring an assistant or two. She was a tremendous help! The other bright spot is the fact that one of my brothers was already at the conference holding down his job’s booth at the exhibit showcase portion. We met up with my brother for a bit when we arrived. I was the first to arrive of the Monarch crew. Once I checked-in my nervous energy was gone.

I WAS ON.

I met up with the CBC press coordinator. We pretty much had things worked out, except for one thing. Colin Powell wasn’t scheduled to arrived at the conference until TODAY. We both held out hope that he was at least in the building for the day. She sent a media request to his person and promised to touch base with me if she heard anything. We exchanged numbers and I was on my way as the rest of the crew started to arrive.

Yesterday feels like a blur as I did a lot of running in heels, throwing down water in my throat to keep it clear, sweating and keeping hair in check for the on camera interviews. The day was winding down and it became clear that we were not going to get Colin Powell. The crew had to leave so we shut it down around three o’clock.  I was little sad, because I had my questions ready for Gen. Powell. But then something else happened.

My mother and I lingered around as we waited for my father to pick us up. Just before leaving, I spotted this lovely woman with long hair, a gray suit and lavender blouse. She was walking with a gentleman and they seemed to be on a mission to get to one of the sessions. Immediately I knew who she was when she walked by. I jumped to my feet and (perhaps in a groupie fashion) I politely stopped her.

“Excuse me are you Judy Smith?”

“Yes I am,” she said with a warm smile.

Anyone who is a fan of the hit show Scandal, KNOWS who Judy Smith is. Even if you never heard of her or don’t watch the show, anyone in the local DC political world knows DC Mayor Vincent Gray recently hired her to help him with some of his investigation issues.  I have mentioned her in this blog in a previous entry (go read). As brief as our exchange was (a quick intro, handing over my business card and photo op), meeting Judy Smith made my day.

I’ll eventually get to meet and interview Gen. Colin Powell.  In the meantime, I’ll continue to prep for an even bigger meeting with him. Hopefully the nervous energy will be a distant memory and I can go in all “Auntie” Oprah style.

Ok… at least Robin Roberts style?

My video segment(s) for Monarch will be posted on their website. I’ll keep you guys informed on when they are posted. Until then, enjoy a few flicks from my day at the CBC yesterday –> CBC ALC 2012 Album.

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