By Krenar Sadiku | Time does not wait for us mortals, it keeps its pace and we need to keep up. That is how I have felt since I have been in Columbia. A lot is going on, and I am hoping to use my time wisely and do as much as one can do in a couple of months.
I got lucky, I would say! I stayed in the best place for a Fellow of Alfred Friendly. I remained in Columbia, always near the Reynolds Journalism Institute and continued to follow some wonderful trainings.
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Kosovo’s ambassador to the US, Vlora Çitaku, visited Columbia, and we interviewed her for Missouri Business Alert. She had some interesting thing to say. Here is a video I made, showing my video editing skills.
I also met with RJI alumni who now work in high positions for major U.S. media outlets, like Brian Hamman, the Vice President of Engineering at The New York Times.
I followed a great class by Google News Lab, held by trainer Mike Reilley, who teaches data journalism at the University of Illinois – Chicago.
But the crème de la crème was meeting the Bloomberg co-founder and Editor-In-Chief Emeritus, Matthew Winkler. And oh boy did he have things to say! All ears were turned.
When good things start to happen, welcome them. I left for Washington D.C. for a few days, as part of the Mizzou Journalism team. Professor and President of Alfred Friendly Randall Smith asked me to join him and the others at SABEW18 (Society of American Business Editors and Writers) Conference. D.C was spectacular: I walked across half the city and enjoyed it very much. I paid my respect at Arlington Cemetery, visited the place where JFK lays in peace. And then from Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol Hill building, I saw everything left and right.
The visit was top-notch, but the conference was on a whole other level. I brushed shoulders with Pulitzer Prize winners, shook hands with famous journalists and heard some enlightened people talk.
Then we started our journey to St. Louis, from where we would come back to Columbia. And was I in for a big surprise during my flight! It was an Honor Flight where Vietnam, Korea and World War II veterans were in our midst.
Their journey started by receiving mail while being in the air. It was mail from their loved ones, their community and even from strangers. Their names were read aloud, in a “mail call” manner, just like it was done before the internet and e-mail era, and how it is done even today when mail gets delivered to the soldiers wherever they serve for their country.
“Dear grandpa, I was always proud to say my grandpa served in the Korean war, even when I knew just a little about it. I grew up, I learned and even visited that country. Now I thank you even more, because you not only fought for the freedom we enjoy on a daily basis, but you fought for the freedom that South Koreans enjoy too,” read on one of the letters.
This was a grand gesture for more than a dozen of the old but tough gents. From the time they stepped into the D.C. Airport to the time they disappeared from our eyesight when they landed in St. Louis, they were applauded, praised and thanked for the service they did.
One of the organizers said, it is always a honor to do what can be done when having in mind their sacrifice and courage. This is one way of how America serves back their brave.