Chelsea Fuller (BSJ, 2011)
Hometown: Ashtabula, Ohio
Current Job: The Dominion Post
Now that inauguration weekend 2013 is in the history books, SOJ alumna Chelsea Fuller has had some time to reflect on her experiences in Washington, D.C. Fuller, a reporter and copy editor for The Dominion Post, attended both the President’s swearing in-ceremony and one of several balls held over inaugural weekend. Fuller said she had no idea how the journey would change her both professionally and personally.
SOJ: How did you get the opportunity to cover inauguration weekend?
Fuller: Someone invited me to one of the inaugural balls and, being the person I am, I started thinking of story ideas. I went to my editors [at The Dominion Post] and told them that I had done some preliminary research on ways to localize the story.What I came up with was WVU alumni who were either involved with inaugural event planning or who were planning to attend [inauguration festivities]. So I pitched it and they said yes.
What was your assignment?
My primary story was the one about alumni in D.C., but I was very grateful that my editors allowed me to write a few columns about my personal experiences as well. While I was in D.C., I wrote down my thoughts, took pictures with my phone and my work camera and just talked to people. I really immersed myself in what was happening.
What was the swearing-in ceremony like?
I was close enough to the Capitol that I could see pretty well. I went by myself so I could concentrate on getting what I needed for my story. It seemed like everyone had somebody with them, and I was alone with my camera and my notebook. It was definitely one of the times that I felt like a real journalist. As I was standing there with all these random people, it hit me that I was going to write something that people would read about this historic moment in time.
Is this the biggest story you’ve ever covered?
It is the assignment that has pushed me the furthest in my career – in terms of the overall experience, the quality of work that I was expected to do and the timeline that I was expected to do it in.
What did you learn from this experience?
I had some travel hiccups and a few other things happen that, had I not been prepared, could have really tripped me up and affected my ability to do my job and file my stories on time. I came out of this with more confidence as a reporter, as an adult – and as an American. I know that might sound corny but inaugural weekend is far more special than I realized. It’s a coming together of the American people. It’s something I’ll never forget.
Read Fuller’s articles from The Dominion Post by clicking on the links below: