You are currently browsing the daily Archive for April 14th, 2011.

Anita McBride, former chief of staff to former First Lady Laura Bush, discussed the roles and challenges of being a first lady during a C-SPAN interview on April 14 with political editor Steve Scully and students from George Mason University, Purdue University and the University of Denver.

Being the first lady is the “most important, demanding and unpaid job,” according to McBride.

In the past, the American public expected the first lady to play a traditional role as a homemaker and caretaker to her husband, family and the White House. However, the American public now believes that first ladies have the responsibility to use their voice to make a stance on their platform thanks to first lady and activist Eleanor Roosevelt, according to McBride.

“Over time, we do expect our first lady to be deeply engaged with issues they care about and issues that the nation cares about,” McBride said. “First ladies are best when the choose policy decisions or policy issues that are important to the government at large.

A first lady much choose an issue that they deeply care about and bring their credibility to it, even when the issue is controversial.

Hilary Clinton, for example, took a lot of blows for being so upfront about health care. While she did not retreat from being engaged in issues that were important to her, she did shift her focus to a global landscape. Even though she tried her best to stand up for something, sometimes first ladies must shift their gears to other platforms.

Sometimes, it may be difficult for a first lady to get her platform out because the public is unfairly going after the president by going after his wife, according to McBride.

There has been a backlash on the number of staff First Lady Michelle Obama has in her offices. The number of staff usually varies for each first lady, according to McBride.

“I don’t remember this level of controversy,” McBride said.

While it sounds like life in the White House may be difficult for first ladies and their families, McBride said that it is absolutely possible  to lead normal lives.

“The White House is the one place where there is sanctuary,” McBride said. “You can make a good family life.”

McBride also mentioned that if she were able to choose to work for any first lady, she would choose either Dolly Madison or Abigail Adams.

Madison had a great personality and wonderful hostessing abilities, while Adams had extraordinary character and a strong belief in the possibilities of the nation, according to McBride.

Mandy Jenkins who is now D.C. Social News Editor at The Huffington Post wrote a very interesting post on her blog about the importance being the first person and/or news organization to get a story out first.

What was really interesting was that Jenkins said that many reporters and journalists feel that there is a lack of competition, which is why being timely and breaking a story as soon as possible is not as important.

Like Jenkins, I believe the claim above to be untrue. Even if newspapers are less widespread and are dying out, people still follow the news. Just because there is a lack of newspaper subscriptions does not mean that people are receiving news any less. It just means that people are using different methods in receiving their news.

If anything, people are following news more closely because the Internet allows them to seek information at anytime time. Almost everyone in my Comm 361 class has a smartphone or has 24/7 access to the Internet. I for one, am always receiving alerts and updates on breaking news — either through my phone or my laptop.

I think that reporters and journalists should feel like they have more competition then ever before because immediacy is so important in our technologically advanced society. People are always wanting something more right away — if a news site does not meet our needs then we will jump to another site until one catches our attention and satisfies that need.

The deadline should always be now — not this afternoon, tonight or tomorrow.

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