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A day in the life of a Washington Post reporter

Patricia Cruz



Emmanuel Felton, Washington Post race and ethnicity reporter, shared how he built a career in investigative journalism and the challenges of reporting on race in the United States, writes part-time trainee Micaela Arneson. 

Emmanuel didn’t set out to be a journalist — much less an award-winning one, whose reporting on Black officers who protected the US Capitol Building from rioters last January was cited during President Trump’s second impeachment hearing.

He was on a path to law school when he realised the best part of working with the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy non-profit in the US, was meeting potential plaintiffs and hearing their stories.

For anyone interested in pursuing investigative journalism, Emmanuel shared some insights from his career leading up to The Washington Post, in a guest talk to trainees.


Emmanuel’s first job with the small newsroom The Hechinger Report might not have been flashy, but it gave him a unique opportunity: “I was allowed to do really ambitious, long-form journalism at an early point in my career, because I went to a place that no one heard of.”

Smaller organisations can give early career journos with good ideas space to develop them, which can lead to jobs with bigger media outlets down the road. Case in point: BuzzFeed recruited Emmanuel because of his work with The Hechinger Report, and The Washington Post came calling a couple years later.


Carving out your niche isn’t always easy, but Emmanuel advises his journalism students at Hunter College to find their strengths and express their interests.

Emmanuel said: “I was an education reporter for years and knowing how to cover any beat is good.

“But I think what I did do is make very clear early on that [race reporting] was what I wanted to do.”

Everyone has a unique background and perspective to offer — and therefore stories only they can tell.


LinkedIn is one of many places to find sources, Emmanuel said, but there’s another, more important principle to keep in mind: “I think generally the best thing, both with sources and with other people in this business (because it’s a really small world) is not to be an a**hole.”

He added you should give sources space to tell their story, but always be prepared in interviews. It helps build rapport and gives people reason to trust that you’re the right person to tell their story.

Emmanuel said: “Especially early in your career when you’re not at a place where people instinctively trust you, showing that you’ve done your homework is an important part.”

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One of the keys to long-form journalism is finding people who have an unusual point of view that goes deeper than the headlines.

Emmanuel advised trainees to ask themselves questions like: “Who are the people who are really injured?

“Who can sustain writing 2,000 to 4,000 words?

“A good sign of a story is when I’m calling someone and I have no idea what they’re gonna say.”

Another pro tip: try to find the gaps in someone else’s coverage.

Emmanuel said: “I read a lot of the local news, I also read really good narrative and investigative work as a motto.

“But I spend a lot of time reading a lot of crappy journalism and trying to find, where are the gems in here that they haven’t touched on?”


Emmanuel is the first to admit that his work-life balance isn’t ideal, but he’s putting in the hours because he’s still new-ish to The Washington Post. And to prove yourself, you have to do good work.

But it’s definitely possible to set boundaries around your personal life — especially in long-form journalism, which doesn’t move as fast as daily news. Emmanuel thinks it’s also important to be aware of how the work, which can be emotional and personal, can impact your mental health.

He said: “I think there’s some second-hand trauma that’s often a part of this job.”

One way he copes is by keeping in touch with people after the reporter-source relationship is over, and he said diversifying your interests is also key.

He said: “Find a job where you can do the work that you’re really passionate about because this is not an easy job.

“But making sure that this job isn’t the only thing in your life is really important.”

is proud to regularly invite inspiring guest speakers to talk about their lives as journalists, as well as offering free, practical journalism workshops. Find out more here to get a taster of our award-winning training.

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The benefits of practicing mindfulness and how to start

Alice Trout



In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of everyday life. Between work, family, and other responsibilities, we often forget to take care of ourselves. This is where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment, without judgment. In this article, we will explore the benefits of practicing mindfulness and how to start.

Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness

  1. Reduces stress and anxiety

Mindfulness can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels. By focusing on the present moment, you can calm your mind and reduce racing thoughts.

  1. Improves mental clarity

Practicing mindfulness can improve mental clarity and focus. It can help to clear your mind of distractions and increase productivity.

  1. Enhances self-awareness

Mindfulness can increase self-awareness and help you to understand your thoughts and emotions better. By being present in the moment, you can learn to recognize your patterns of thinking and behavior.

  1. Improves relationships

Mindfulness can help to improve relationships by increasing empathy and compassion. By being present with others, you can develop a deeper understanding of their needs and feelings.

How to Start Practicing Mindfulness

  1. Set aside time

Set aside a specific time every day to practice mindfulness. It can be as little as 5-10 minutes per day to start.

  1. Find a quiet space

Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed. It could be a quiet corner of your home or a quiet park.

  1. Focus on your breath

Focus on your breath and the physical sensations of breathing. Notice the rise and fall of your chest and the sensation of air moving in and out of your body.

  1. Be present

Allow yourself to be present in the moment without judgment. Let your thoughts and emotions come and go without dwelling on them.

  1. Practice regularly

Make mindfulness a regular practice. It takes time to develop the habit, but the benefits are worth it.

In conclusion, practicing mindfulness can have numerous benefits for our mental and physical well-being. It’s a simple yet powerful practice that can be incorporated into our daily lives. By setting aside a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness, we can reduce stress and anxiety, improve mental clarity, and enhance our relationships. So why not give it a try? Your mind and body will thank you for it.

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How to create a perfect morning routine for a productive day

Alice Trout



Do you ever feel like your day has gotten away from you before it even starts? One way to combat this feeling is to create a perfect morning routine. Establishing a routine can help you start your day off on the right foot, and set the tone for a productive and successful day. Here are some tips on how to create a morning routine that works for you.

Determine Your Priorities

Before you start creating a morning routine, it’s important to determine what your priorities are. What are the things that you want to accomplish in the morning? Do you want to exercise, meditate, or have a healthy breakfast? Once you have a list of your priorities, you can start creating a routine that includes them.

Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day

Waking up at the same time every day can help regulate your body’s natural sleep cycle and make it easier to fall asleep at night. Try to wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This can help establish a consistent routine and make it easier to stick to.

Take Time for Yourself

Many people feel rushed and stressed in the morning, but taking some time for yourself can help alleviate this feeling. Whether it’s meditating, reading a book, or simply enjoying a cup of coffee, taking time for yourself can help you start your day feeling calm and centered.


Exercise is a great way to start your day, as it can help increase your energy levels and improve your mood. Whether it’s a quick jog, yoga practice, or weightlifting session, try to include some form of exercise in your morning routine.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. Eating a healthy breakfast can help fuel your body and provide the energy you need to start your day. Try to include protein, whole grains, and fruit or vegetables in your breakfast.

Plan Your Day

Taking a few minutes to plan your day can help you stay focused and productive. Make a to-do list or set priorities for the day, and review your calendar to make sure you’re prepared for any meetings or appointments.

Stick to Your Routine

Once you’ve created a morning routine that works for you, try to stick to it as much as possible. Consistency is key, and sticking to your routine can help establish healthy habits and improve your overall productivity.

In conclusion, creating a perfect morning routine can help set the tone for a productive and successful day. By determining your priorities, waking up at the same time every day, taking time for yourself, exercising, eating a healthy breakfast, planning your day, and sticking to your routine, you can create a morning routine that works for you. Remember, it’s all about finding what works best for you and your lifestyle.

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10 simple yet effective ways to reduce stress in your daily life

Alice Trout



Stress is an inevitable part of our lives, but it can have a negative impact on our mental and physical health if left unchecked. Fortunately, there are several simple yet effective ways to reduce stress in our daily lives. In this article, we will explore 10 such methods that you can easily incorporate into your routine.

Exercise regularly

Physical activity is an excellent way to relieve stress. It helps to release endorphins, which are natural mood-boosters. You don’t have to engage in high-intensity workouts to reap the benefits. Even a brisk walk or light yoga can help reduce stress levels.

Get enough sleep

Lack of sleep can cause irritability, mood swings, and increase stress levels. Make sure you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night to feel well-rested and refreshed.

Practice deep breathing

Deep breathing techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing can help to calm your mind and body. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this for a few minutes to feel relaxed.

Spend time in nature

Spending time in nature can have a calming effect on your mind and body. Take a walk in the park or go for a hike in the woods to feel rejuvenated.

Practice mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. It can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Set aside a few minutes every day to practice mindfulness meditation.

Listen to music

Music has a soothing effect on our minds. Listening to calming music can help to reduce stress levels. Create a playlist of your favorite relaxing tunes and listen to it when you feel stressed.

Practice yoga or tai chi

Yoga and tai chi are ancient practices that combine physical postures and breathing techniques. They can help to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation.

Connect with loved ones

Talking to friends and family members can help to reduce stress levels. It can provide a sense of comfort and support during challenging times.

Practice gratitude

Focusing on the positive aspects of life can help to reduce stress levels. Make a habit of practicing gratitude by writing down things you are thankful for every day.

Take breaks

Taking short breaks throughout the day can help to reduce stress levels. Go for a short walk, practice deep breathing or simply take a few moments to close your eyes and relax.

In conclusion, stress is a part of life, but it doesn’t have to take over. By incorporating these simple yet effective methods into your daily routine, you can reduce stress levels and improve your overall well-being. Remember, taking care of yourself should always be a top priority.

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