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DC Semester Q and A

Ryan Thomas Prior
Spring 2012

It's amazing to be at the center of the national conversation.

Brief bio:

I was a political journalist at Newsweek/Daily Beast interning for former presidential speechwriter David Frum just a block from the White House. I later interned at USA Today and ultimately transformed into a scientific filmmaker on a project that launched after a massive response to one of my USA Today stories. A year later, I’m now wrapping up that documentary film project, which is called Forgotten Plague. I am Executive Producer, Co-Director, and Writer for that motion picture. I am also President of the Blue Ribbon Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit I co-founded in conjunction with our documentary’s outreach mission.

Expected graduation:

December 2012

Degree objective:

BA International Affairs, BA English

Why I went:

I wanted to get my foot in the door with future job prospects. I was interested in working in the media, policy, or politics. I originally planned to work for a small blog, then called Frum Forum, but was ultimately catapulted to a Newsweek/Daily Beast internship after Newsweek/Daily Beast acquired the blog basically the day before I got there.

Favorite spot to visit:

The rotunda of the Library of Congress.

Most memorable day:

There were a lot of interesting moments with David Frum, a consummate insider. One of those was the day that Andrew Breitbart died, in which I arrived at David’s house to work and was told that everything we planned was at a standstill until David finished a scathing obituary of the controversial conservative pundit.

Our blog took a bit of a beating that day for criticizing a prominent “journalist” on the day he died, and I still have mixed feelings about the ethics of doing that. However, it was a great example of seeing a prominent boss take a big stand on a controversial topic.

Consequently, this was also a week after Jon Hunstman had dropped out of the 2012 Republican presidential primary. While Frum is being lambasted by the far right (slightly more than usual) he goes and meets with Huntsman. Huntsman has asked to meet with Frum to discuss his political future and David Frum gives him lots of advice.

Ultimately, David gets home where we are working. His wife makes him a gin and tonic to help cope with the criticism of the Breitbart obit and then David sits down to tell us and his family the story of his conversation with the former governor of Utah who had been on the presidential campaign trail just a month before.

Why I'm glad I went:

You just have to jump in head first and learn the ropes.

Where I interned:

Daily Beast, David Frum

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