by PAUL GEORGE
The drive from Reno to Carson City is enjoyable. After passing through some Reno traffic, the road clears, only a few travelers, and the view of the mountains is spectacular. While driving there in my red, ragged Chevy Corsica, with a smashed passenger door, I am reminded of Nevada’s natural, rugged beauty. The Monday drive calms me, allowing me to focus on what I want to accomplish as part of the Nevada Media Alliance. Like any journalism senior, my priorities are completely selfish: I want clips to show potential employers. And I also needed one more journalism class – this one – to graduate in May.
But I also believe Nevadans need to know what is going on at their legislature. As a voter, I will never have access to the president of the nation. U.S. senators and representatives are difficult to contact. But on a state level, getting to know your legislators is much easier, and the issues they deal with affect us much more directly.
My job, I believe, is to make what happens during committee meetings relevant. One way of doing this is by finding the people proposed laws would affect. On my personal blog, I frequently write about the importance of the polis – the people as active citizens. As a student journalist, finding the time to locate these people is a challenge. But being ready for anything while in Carson City is a good way to start.
After my reporting partner, Molly Moser, and I finished observing a committee meeting, we exited the legislature building. We heard the sound of drums and chanting from the open court area in front of us. As we approached, we saw smoke and people dancing in a circle.[vimeo 60700057]
A group of American Indians danced and sang while burning incense. Molly immediately got her pen and pad out. I pulled out our video camera and started documenting the event. This was not why we came. We were there to cover the Ways and Means Committee. Yet, the demonstration was exactly why we came, to make the legislative process relevant to Nevadans.
In the end, we wrote a daily article about the demonstration, which was in support of Senate Bill 82, which would make bear hunting illegal. We also produced a short video segment, something I enjoy doing but have had little experience creating. I hope to do more video work in the future. The demonstrators believed the issue to be important enough to come out to support it. That’s democracy. That’s an active citizenry. And that’s why I want to cover the Nevada Legislature.