By Riagan McMahon, Guest Blogger
Riagan McMahon was nominated to participate as a National Youth Correspondent, representing Saratoga Springs High School and New York State, in the Washington Journalism and Media Conference held July 8 through 13. As a National Youth Correspondent, she was recognized as one of the most promising young leaders in journalism and media and joined scholars from across the country to share in this experience.
As part of this elite group, she participated in hands-on learning projects that challenged her to solveproblems, as well as dive deep into the creative, practical, and ethical tensions inherent in journalism and media. If she was interested in communications and public relations before the conference, she is downrightcommitted to the field now.
Riagan reached out to Palio for corporate sponsorship and we made a deal: We would gladly sponsor her if she agreed to write about her experiences. In the next series of posts, Riagan shares the insights and moments that most impacted her during the conference. In this post, she describes meeting Hoda Kotb.
Hello, I am Riagan McMahon blogging about the experiences I was fortunate to have at The Washington Journalism and Media Conference. I am a senior at Saratoga Springs High School and an aspiring communications and public relations major.
Hoda Kotb, co-host of the fourth hour of NBC’s “Today” and New York Times bestselling author of Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer and Kathie Lee, was the keynote speaker during our visit to The National Press Club in Washington, DC, on July 10. Besides Kotb, the press conference panelists included the following political experts: Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd of MSNBC, Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash of CNN, American political reporter Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, and White House Correspondent April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks.
All of the speakers were phenomenal in describing their successes and how they made it possible. But it was Hoda Kotb’s emotional story that impacted me most. Her story is triumphant. Kotb began her discussion by describing the hardships she faced before she had her first break, detailing how she received 27 rejections in her early hopes of being on the air as a news reporter. Kotb was then led by fate. She focused on her passion and was aggressive in making her dreams reality. Kotb’s eagerness to make it as a journalist proved to me that the level of fervency and determination one has really does separate one from the competition.
The quote from her keynote that stays with me is, “This business is so subjective, people quit because they don’t have enough stamina.” Hoda never stepped down. She worked harder than everyone else in her field to come out on top. She holds this work ethic accountable for her success, and knows that without her inner drive she would never have made it to where she is today.
Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.