I imagine a world where we step outside our boundaries, and welcome the things a bit outside the box.
Covering transportation policy in Washington D.C. has been a beautiful way to come full circle at my time in Medill, and a way to report with a skeptical eye.
I covered transportation for my first three months at Medill, which introduced me to the tech startup community. I started reporting on people who were finding solutions to problems much faster than policy makers could. I became absorbed.
Transportation is an intimate part of our daily lives. So is business, especially businesses that fertilize new technology. Both things grow the infrastructure of our daily lives. So really, the two connect more than we even know.
But covering technology and transportation in D.C. is far different than covering it anywhere else. Washington seems to work like a corporation does – with levels of bureaucracy and carefully timed press releases.
If everything is written in the form of a press release, what we see is the same terminology used over and over to describe the same issues.
Most people are exposed to the bureaucracy of D.C. through modern broadcast – reporters trying to communicate the urgency of the budget crisis and the implications of sequestration. Or reporters carefully tracking the unemployment rate to see if we’ve bounced back from economic downturn.
The problem is: Our population has become jaded. Much of us are tired of hearing the same problems over and over, and much of us feel that we’ll die before the Capitol comes to conclusions on policies. As I’ve learned in my time in Washington, people in the Capitol can’t even decide on the same toilet paper throughout the building.
But what if we take the time to change the way we speak about things? And we rethink our terminology and the ways we describe issues and prescribe solutions.
What if we stopped relying on policy & started creating solutions? Again, this is what I love most about disruptive small businesses. What if we stop worrying about education policy to start creating new ways for young students to learn through innovative technology? Or start bringing resources to under-served communities?
This is not just changing the way we think about our society’s biggest problems. It is changing the way we act.
I imagine a world where we redefine the future – not for ourselves, but for our communities.
The American dream is one that is individualistic. But it’s been proven time and time again – we are a product of our community. My hope for the world is that we realize the impact we can each have on our own backyards.