WMI Student Chases Passion for Human Rights

Looking back at his time at the Washington Media Institute, Owen Meech can honestly say he’s better for it. He’s more adventurous and vocal about human rights, but he wasn’t always that way.

As a double major in Political Science and Journalism at Quinnipiac University, Owen knew Washington, D.C. would be the perfect fit to continue his undergraduate studies. But, he didn’t know the extent of the in-depth and hands-on experiences he would receive as a student at WMI.

“I went from covering stories on campus to covering stories of life and death in our nation’s capital,” Owen said. “Sitting in court every day reporting on homicide cases was eye-opening to say the least.”

As an editorial intern at D.C. Witness, Owen reported on homicide cases in the District of Columbia Superior Court.

During his internship, Owen had the opportunity to cover the murder trial of a man accused of fatally shooting a 21-year-old man. Owen said he felt the gravity of his role in the courtroom when the man’s mother approached him one day during the trial. They spoke about her son and he shared that he too was 21 years old and couldn’t imagine what she was going through.

“The exchange cemented with me the mentality of remaining unbiased in my reporting, but also remembering that humans are affected by everything I am writing about. And I have a responsibility to both accuracy and other people,” Owen said.

During the day Owen was in court, but three nights a week he was in class forging relationships and speaking with professionals in the field.

“With a small group of 12 students, our instructors were able to form personal relationships with us and cater learning to our specific needs. I enjoyed the format of conference table discussions and being able to work with my peers on various projects,” Owen explained.

Since he’s left WMI, Owen has been conducting research on pre-trial detention and potential constitutional violations caused by coercive plea bargaining and understaffed courts.

“Whether the future includes law or some sort of legal or political journalism,” Owen said. “ I know I want to do something meaningful and I feel that I’m on the right track to figure out what exactly that might be.”

From Rookie to Sixth Man

Fresh faced and eager, Scott Silberstein was the rookie on the team when he joined Monumental Sports and Entertainment, the owner and operator of the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards in 2017. Nearly a year later, he’s a full-time member on the team — its sixth man.

Scott graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2016 with his Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Professional Communications, and a specialization in Digital Media. And after crossing the stage, he, like other graduates, headed home without any job prospects. And they never seemed to come. But, Scott knew what he was looking for – a job in video production.

He also knew what his hang up was – he lacked experience.

After various attempts at procuring a job, scouring Indeed, Linkedin and other job sites, Scott was going to settle on a job at a call center when he heard about the Washington Media Institute.

Over lunch with a family friend, who was submerged in the same employment struggle, Scott learned about someone who enrolled in WMI, was successful and landed a job she was passionate about.

Shortly after, Scott enrolled and not long after he was placed at Monumental Sports in the post-production department.

“I was given opportunities to actually edit videos. And when I expressed interest in doing camera work, I was able to work with the production team filming fans during the Wizards playoff run,” Scott said reminiscing about his time as intern at Monumental Sports.

While half his time was spent at his internship, the other half was at WMI. Scott credits his WMI professors with teaching him how to dress and conduct himself in a professional environment and fostering his video editing skills. Via project based classes, Scott was pushed to make unconventional videos that challenged him to try something different.

And, nearly half-way through his internship, Scott’s boss approached him with a promotion.

“I immediately said yes,” Scott said with a chuckle.

Looking back Scott noted that saying “yes” as often as possible led him to gain experience in more facets of production and overall furthered his knowledge. Most importantly, it showed his boss and supervisors that he was reliable and hard working.

Along the way, Scott was called on to assist in filming and preparatory aspects of game nights and the Special Olympics, among other things. He also got the chance to be a broadcast production assistant for the Washington Mystics.

As his part-time status was coming to an end, it was just luck that two assistant editors moved to California. So, he applied for an assistant editor position. A couple of weeks later, it was official.

Thinking on his time at Monumental Sports, Scott explained that his role really felt solidified during the Capital One Arena watch party for game five of the Stanley Cup Finals.

“People were running, jumping, screaming and crying. Some had worked at Monumental Sports for over 10 years, and were getting to witness the Capitals’ first championship. Being surrounded by coworkers as we watched our team win the Stanley Cup was amazing,” Scott said.

January 2019 will mark Scott’s two-year anniversary at Monumental Sports and Entertainment and this time around he can honestly say he’s no longer the new kid on the team, but a staple member who has jumped in when called on to assist and has broadened his skillset along the way.

Are you a recent graduate looking to start your media career? Click here to learn more about WMI:JobLab, a new program designed specifically for college graduates. Already interested? Click here to apply.