Gain a global perspective as you improve your journalism skills with the USA Summer Journalism Training Program

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The Global Business Journalism Program is already one of the most prestigious business journalism master’s degree programs in the world. The partnership between the U.S.-based International Center for Journalists and Tsinghua University has produced more than 400 graduates from China and around the globe who are bringing advanced technological skills and business reporting expertise to news sites around the world.

This summer, GBJ’s co-director, Rick Dunham, a veteran of 29 years in Washington journalism, will launch a new initiative, the USA Summer Journalism Training Program in Washington, designed to train aspiring journalists from around the world in global best practices. The two-week program is scheduled to run from July 24 to August 4. Sessions will be held at the International Center for Journalists and other venues in Washington.

The USA Summer Journalism Training Program includes more than a dozen training sessions and workshops, hands-on reporting exercises, and tours of news organizations, as well as Washington-area sightseeing and special social activities. Guest speakers will include prominent Washington journalists, academics and policymakers.

The program is open to all university students and 2017 graduates. Thanks to a generous contribution from a supporter of the program, Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication students will receive a $500 scholarship to defray a portion of the program fee. Tsinghua students who also participate in the City University of New York Summer Intensive Program in July will receive a $750 scholarship.

To guarantee personal attention, the program is limited to 25 participants.

Professor Dunham is a former White House correspondent for Business Week magazine, editor of the magazine’s Washington Outlook page, Washington bureau chief of the Houston Chronicle and Hearst Newspapers, creator of the Texas on the Potomac blog, 2005 president of the National Press Club, and creator of RickDunhamBlog.com. He is a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, where he teaches multimedia reporting, data journalism storytelling, English news writing and U.S. media culture.

The deadline for applications is May 31. Click here for the program application.

If you have questions, please contact USA Summer Journalism Training Program at SummerProgramDC@gmail.com. You can reach teaching assistant Li Chengzhang at licz15@mails.tsinghua.edu.cn,  (Note: Tsinghua University is not involved in this program, its curriculum or management.)

Here is additional information on the program, in English and Chinese:

项目时间:2017年7月(注:项目时间与CUNY暑期项目不冲突)

项目时长:两周

地点:美国,华盛顿DC,美国记者俱乐部

结业证书:由美国记者协会(ICFJ)颁发

招收对象:在校大学生

Time:July 24-August 4, 2017 (Note: The timing of this program is designed to encourage students to also participate in the Summer Intensive Program at the City University of New York.)

Period: Two weeks

Place: USA, Washington, D.C., The International Center for Journalists and other locations

Completed certificate: From ICFJ, the leading training organization for journalists around the world

Eligibility: Participants must be university students or 2017 graduates

  • 夏令营项目形式:

业界导师授课、嘉宾讲座、研讨会、参观游览及娱乐活动

  • Program contents: Journalism training sessions and workshops, hands-on reporting exercises, tours of news organizations, Washington-area sightseeing, social activities
  • 课程内容:

多媒体全方位新闻技能培训

包括:采访技巧、如何讲好新闻故事、突发新闻报道、国际新闻报道、多媒体新闻报道、财经新闻写作技巧、华盛顿邮报案例研究、新闻从业者入行需知等版块

  • Journalism training courses

Program contents: Multimedia storytelling, advanced reporting, writing and editing seminars, interview tips, sharpening your business and economic journalism skills, tips for foreign correspondents and data journalism skills training

  • 讲座和研讨会内容:

资深记者分享新闻报道和从业经验,并与行业专家及政府议员探讨全球公共政策问题。

包括:移民问题、贸易问题、能源问题、双边关系、经济与政治相互作用关系等议题。

  • Lectures, sessions and workshops

Program contents: Hear from prominent journalists, academics, think tank representatives and policymakers. Training in journalism skills and policy issues important to a global audience

实践内容:

个人采访作业、小组采访作业

包括:新闻稿件、新闻图片、新闻音频和视频等。同学们通过街头采访的实践机会深入了解和体验美国。

  • Practice:

Individual journalism assignments, group journalism assignments

Program contents: You will work with veteran American journalists to improve your news article writing, news photography, video and audio skills. Students will get to know America and American life better via interviewing local people and policymakers by themselves.

  • 参观游览活动:

(1)参观媒体机构

包括:美国记者俱乐部、美国新闻博物馆、华盛顿邮报报社、彭博新闻社等。

(2)参观历史遗迹

包括:美国国会大厦、林肯纪念堂、杰斐逊纪念堂、马丁·路德·金纪念碑、华盛顿故居、林肯故居、二战纪念碑、朝鲜战争和越南战争纪念碑等。

(注:以上参观游览目的地为可选范围,具体参观游览路线将会视同学们的兴趣而定。负责该项目的美国教授和助教将会带领大家一起出行集体参观游览。)

  • Sightseeing

(1) Media organizations

Planned tours include the National Press Club and the Newseum. Additional visits may include the Washington Post, Bloomberg News and Politico

(2) Historical sites

Visits to selected historical sites including the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Martin Luther King Memorial, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, the Albert Einstein Statue, the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial.

(Note: Students can select their preferred sightseeing destinations from above options, specific tour routes will depend on the students’ interests. Our professor and teaching assistant will lead the collective tour.)

  • 娱乐活动:

由Rick Dunham教授主持举办“Texas barbecue”野餐会

在美国记者俱乐部举办周五“Taco Night”活动

  • Social activities

Opening “Texas barbecue” cookout hosted by Professor Rick Dunham in Arlington, Virginia

Friday “Taco Night” reception at the National Press Club

Special event with National Press Club Young Members

Happy Hour with Asian American Journalists Association DC Chapter members

  • 师资力量:
  • Possible guest speakers:

Rick Dunham:清华大学全球财经新闻联合主任、美国记者俱乐部培训学院院长、《商业周刊》原驻白宫记者

Alex Nowrasteh: 美国卡托研究所经济学家

Al Weaver:《华盛顿审察者报》驻白宫记者

Cheryl Arvidson:前《达拉斯时代先驱报》总编辑

Cragg Hines:前《休斯顿纪事报》华盛顿分社总编辑、专栏作家

Emily Holden:E&E新闻机构记者

Doris Truong:《华盛顿邮报》记者

Doug Wong:《华盛顿邮报》记者

Gilbert Klein:美国大学新闻教授、前美国记者俱乐部主席

Doug Harbrecht:Kiplinger.com数字媒体总监

Angela Greiling Keane:《政客》编辑

Alan Bjerga:彭博新闻社农业报道记者、乔治城大学新闻教授

Jonathan Salant: 北新泽西州报纸驻华盛顿记者

Maria Recio: Washington journalist and former correspondent for Business Week, Knight Ridder Newspapers and McClatchy Newspapers

Mark Hamrick: Bankrate.com Washington bureau chief and former National Press Club president

Emily Wilkins: Education reporter, Roll Call

 

  • 费用:

项目费:1500美元

住宿费:600-750美元(由项目方提供统一住宿)

  • Estimated costs:

Fees   $1,500*

Housing (estimated, double occupancy)  $600-$750

Note: Global Business Journalism students and other Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication students are eligible for a scholarship to cover $500 of the costs, making their final fee $1,000.

Note: GBJ and other TSJC students who also enroll in the City University of New York Summer Intensive program are eligible for a scholarship to cover $750 of their costs, making their final fee $750.

Note: Visa fee, transportation, travel, meals, insurance are not included.

Note: Housing will be available from Sunday, July 23, to Saturday, August 5.

A completed application does not guarantee acceptance. To guarantee personal attention, the program will have a maximum of 25 participants. Admission is at the discretion of program organizers.

>>> Application form for the USA Summer Journalism Training Program

>>> Questions? Contact the USA Summer Journalism Training Program by email

>>> More information on CUNY Summer Intensive program

>>> Learn more about the Global Business Journalism Program at Tsinghua University

 


Pulitzer Prize winner Ken Herman encourages Tsinghua journalism students to ‘try different things’

Ken Herman (center) talks to Global Business Journalism Program students, flanked by Rick Dunham (left) and Sharon Jayson (right).

Ken Herman (center) talks to Global Business Journalism Program students, flanked by Rick Dunham (left) and Sharon Jayson (right).

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ken Herman encouraged students in Tsinghua University’s Global Business Journalism Program to experiment with the many new technological tools available to today’s reporters.

“Try different things,” Herman, a columnist at the Austin American-Statesman in Texas, said in a lecture on May 12. “Don’t be afraid to fail. Keep trying and you’ll get better.”

Herman and his wife Sharon Jayson, a longtime reporter for USA Today, spoke to Professor Rick Dunham’s Data Journalism and Multimedia Business Reporting classes at the Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication. They told the stories of their award-winning journalism careers and advised students to master traditional news writing, audio, video and social media.

Jayson’s three-decade career has included stints as a television news reporter and anchor, a radio station reporter, a radio network Austin bureau chief and a newspaper journalist in Washington and Austin.

“I love journalism,” she said. “I’m glad to go to work every single day.”

Herman, who covered George W. Bush both during his days as governor of Texas and president of the United States, won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1977 for a series of stories in the Lufkin (Texas) News investigating the death of a young recruit in the U.S. military. The series led to congressional hearings and changes in American military recruiting practices. For the past six years, he has written a newspaper column that sometimes covers serious policy topics and often uses humor to make his points.

“I feel it is important to tell people what is going on in their government – or just entertain them,” he said.

Herman was one of the first print reporters to supplement his reports with multimedia elements such as video and audio. He said that some of his early efforts at video journalism were “pretty bad.”

“Make mistakes,” he said. “I certainly did. But you’ll learn how to do it and you’ll get better.”

Jayson, who specialized in coverage of younger Americans and human relationships during her decade at USA Today, said she knew she wanted to be a reporter from the age of 12, when she worked on a newspaper at her school. She encouraged the students to follow their passion in life, like she did, even if it does not lead to material wealth.

“Don’t just accept something because you think you’re going to get rich,” she said.

Ken and Sharon in Tian'anmen Square, with the Forbidden City in the background.

Ken and Sharon in Tian’anmen Square, with the Forbidden City in the background.


The ten best political campaigns of 2014

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It’s been a good year for very bad campaigns. But there also have been some very, very good efforts put forth by candidates across the United States, including a few who have surprised the political establishment and the Pundit Elite.

Here are my picks for the ten best campaigns of 2014 — whether they win on Election Night or not.

1. Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz

How would you like to have been the interim senator appointed by a governor so unpopular that he was defeated in his party’s primary by more than two to one? And how would you like to have been forced to run in that same primary election against the anointed successor of the late and much-loved Democrat you replaced, Daniel Inouye?

Well, that was the predicament faced by Brian Schatz, Hawaii’s former lieutenant governor and now the second-youngest senator at age 42. He worked smart, worked hard, and won — barely — in the primary against Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

“I was not overconfident that we were going to be successful,” he said after escaping the primary by seven-tenths of one percentage point. Now he’s coasting to a general election win against Republican Cam Cavasso.

2. Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker

The Bay State may have voted Democratic in every presidential race except one in modern times, but it has an independent streak when it comes to picking its governors. Republican Mitt Romney was chosen by Massachusetts voters back when he was a moderate. And this time a Republican healthcare executive with business bona fides and an independent streak from his party on abortion and same-sex marriage is poised to win a surprising victory.

Charlie Baker, who was defeated by outgoing Gov. Deval Patrick four years ago, has run a campaign so steady that he won the endorsement of the iconically liberal Boston Globe. Indeed, the Globe praised his track record of “steady management and proven results.” He’s also been helped by the mistakes of Democratic nominee Martha Coakley, who is poised for another come-from-ahead defeat.

3. New York Rep. Chris Gibson

It’s not comfortable being a Republican congressman representing a New York district carried twice by President Obama. But two-term Republican Chris Gibson has done it through hard work, skillful constituent service and strategic moderation on issues such as arts funding and gay rights. (The retired Army officer is a Republican co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act designed to protect GLBT Americans from workplace discrimination.) One recent poll shows him 20 percentage points ahead of his Democratic rival in a district that Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo will win handily.

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4. Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott

The Texas Attorney General has run the most disciplined governor’s campaign the Lone Star State has seen since George W. Bush toppled Ann Richards in 1994. Abbott has not veered off script, and that script is designed to maximize support among swing voters and motivate hard-core Republicans. With the national press corps hoping against hope for a dramatic storyline this year — Texas is “turning blue” or famous filibusterer Wendy Davis pulls off a miracle in the Land of Bush and Perry — Abbott has taken all of the drama out of Democratic dreams.

5. Colorado Senate candidate Cory Gardner

The Colorado Senate seat held by freshman Democrat Mark Udall wasn’t on many lists of vulnerable seats at the beginning of 2014. But Republican congressman Cory Gardner has been a nightmare for Democrats from Denver to Washington. He’s run an anti-Washington campaign designed to appeal to the swing state’s large bloc of disquieted independents, as well as populists peeved at the sophisticated population of the state capital. Gardner’s campaign site boasts that he is running “to represent all of Colorado, not just those from a particular city or political party.” Take that, Denver.

Democrats have tried to paint Gardner as an extremist and a harsh partisan. But it hasn’t seemed to stick to a candidate known for his high energy and hailed by DC media outlets as a Republican rising star.

6. North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan

From all the Republican TV commercials, you’d think that “Barack Obama” is the name of the Democratic nominee for Senate in North Carolina. But rather than accept southern-fried doom in an anti-Obama year, the first-term Democratic senator has turned the tables on Republican nominee Thom Tillis, and has put him on the defensive about his role as state House Speaker in the extremely unpopular ongoings in the state capital of Raleigh. Contrast Hagan’s competitiveness in final pre-election polls with the flailing efforts of the two other Democratic Senate incumbents in the South, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.

7. West Virginia Senate candidate Shelley Moore Capito

The last Republican to win a Senate seat in West Virginia was six decades ago. That’s going to change this year as longtime Rep. Shelley Moore Capito sweeps to victory to succeed Democratic legend Jay Rockefeller.

While West Virginia has swung Republican at the presidential level in the past four election cycles, it has favored Democrats for most statewide offices. The 60-year-old Capito, an influential House member, is considered by many to be a pragmatist, conservative on social policies, strong on guns but not hostile to organized labor. Her campaign has been pitch perfect. No wonder Kyle Kondike, the managing editor of the University of Virginia’s Sabato’s Crystal Ball, calls her the “best Republican Senate candidate this cycle.”

8. Virginia Senate candidate Ed Gillespie

Win or lose — and he will probably lose — Republican Ed Gillespie has run an exceptionally good Senate campaign in Virginia against a popular Democratic incumbent, Mark Warner. Gillespie has worked harder than just about any candidate in the country, has highlighted a future-oriented set of issues, and has built a statewide organization out of the ashes of Republican defeats in recent years. His efforts have paid off as he has trimmed Warner’s lead significantly over the past two months.

Sen. Warner, you may recall, also was defeated in his first Senate campaign by a venerable incumbent, Republican John Warner, before going on to win the governorship. Gillespie’s excellent campaign should move him to the front of the line of GOP candidates for governor in 2017.

9. Florida congressional candidate Gwen Graham

This is a year of promise for the children of former Florida governors, In Texas, Republican Jeb Bush’s son George is about to become the Lone Star State’s land commissioner. And in the Sunshine State, Democrat Bob Graham’s daughter Gwen is in a tight race with incumbent Republican Rep. Steve Southerland.

Graham has learned the basics of political campaigning from her masterful dad. She has raised more money than the Republican — something very few Democratic challengers have done this year. She has out-organized the incumbent and has mobilized early voting that favors Democrats by 14 percentage points. She has called in dad’s chits and got a campaign visit from former President Bill Clinton. Victory is far from assured, but a strong campaign has given Graham a decent chance in a tough Democratic year.

10. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s worst nightmare is coming true.

Yes, he may lose his job as Majority Leader if Republicans can pick up at least six seats. But he might be seeing the specter of 2016 defeat in Nevada in the person of Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval. The incumbent governor is running 25 percentage points ahead of his 2014 Democratic opponent. He may just keep on running.

Sandoval, the first Latino to serve as a federal judge in Nevada, would be a good bet to roll the dice against Reid. It would be hard for the Democratic senator to convince voters that Sandoval, who has presided over education reform and a slowly improving economy, is a fringe extremist like 2010 GOP nominee Sharron Angle.


Toxic White House water might have killed three U.S. presidents — Harrison, Polk and Taylor

Tippecanoe … and Taylor, too?

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As a history major, I’ve always struggled for an explanation for the surprisingly bad string of American presidents who served between 1840 and 1860.

This motley crew was politically inept. Think Millard Fillmore. James Buchanan. Franklin Pierce. Zachary Taylor.

The group also had a very high mortality rate. William Henry Harrison died one month after assuming office in March 1841. James Polk (he of Texas annexation and “Manifest Destiny”) died shortly after leaving office. And Zachary Taylor, the old (and I emphasize old) Mexican War hero died less than a year into his term, leaving Americans saddled with Fillmore, who later unsuccessfully sought to return to the presidency as the nominee of the aptly named Know Nothing Party.

He would have become president. Philadelphia's only vice president, George Mifflin Dallas, one of the subjects of my master's thesis.

He would have become president. Philadelphia’s only vice president, George Mifflin Dallas, one of the subjects of my master’s thesis.

I will claim some academic expertise in this period of history. My master’s thesis at the University of Pennsylvania was on the 1844 Philadelphia economic elite, which included Polk’s vice president, George Mifflin Dallas. The city of Dallas, Texas, is named after this Philadelphian who might — just might — have become the nation’s 12th president if Polk had died a few months earlier, while still in office.

With apologies to Alexis de Tocqueville, the stretch of dysfunctional democracy in America had many causes, including the implacable division between North and South over fundamental social issues, the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment and the triumph of extremism (and mediocrity) on Capitol Hill.

Sound familiar to your 2014 ears?

Historians have written lots about the political debacle in ante-bellum America. But they haven’t written as much about the health debacle in the White House. That’s why the story that appeared in the April 1 edition of the New York Times (it’s no April Fool’s joke) is so important.

The piece outlined speculation about the cause of William Henry Harrison’s death. Conventional wisdom has held (for 173 years) that old Tippecanoe, the oldest man to be sworn in as president until Ronald Reagan, died of pneumonia after catching cold while delivering the longest inaugural address in American history. (I think it may have equalled all four of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speeches combined. He had nothing to fear but pneumonia itself.)

But it turns out that pneumonia may not have caused Harrison’s death. The Times article casts a credible finger of blame at the potentially toxic supply of drinking water consumed by American presidents during the time before indoor plumbing:

In those days the nation’s capital had no sewer system. Until 1850, some sewage simply flowed onto public grounds a short distance from the White House, where it stagnated and formed a marsh; the White House water supply was just seven blocks downstream of a depository for “night soil,” hauled there each day at government expense.

That field of human excrement would have been a breeding ground for two deadly bacteria, Salmonella typhi and S. paratyphi, the causes of typhoid and paratyphoid fever — also known as enteric fever, for their devastating effect on the gastrointestinal system.

According to the Times piece, Harrison’s eventual case of pneumonia is consistent with enteric fever and may just have been one of the manifestations of acute poisoning.

“As he lay dying, Harrison had a sinking pulse and cold, blue extremities, two classic manifestations of septic shock,” Jane McHugh and Philip A. Mackowiak wrote in the Times. “Given the character and course of his fatal illness, his untimely death is best explained by enteric fever.”

Harrison was the first of three U.S. presidents to die in office (or shortly after leaving office) within a span of only nine years. I’d say that’s reason for some serious “cold case” sleuthing.

Mackowiak, a scholar-in-residence at the University of Maryland and author of “Diagnosing Giants: Solving the Medical Mysteries of Thirteen Patients Who Changed the World,” took up the challenge,  joined by San Antonio writer McHugh.

They made a strong case for tainted water as being the cause of Harrison’s death, and suggested that Polk and Taylor may have been its victims, too. They noted that the 11th and 12th presidents “developed severe gastroenteritis while living in the White House. Taylor died, while Polk recovered, only to be killed by what is thought to have been cholera a mere three months after leaving office.”

There’s further evidence to suspect that Mackowiak and McHugh are onto something. The president’s quarters on the second floor of the White House did not get running water until 1853 — Fillmore is given credit by some history books for this major technological advance. After Millard’s move, no president contracted gastroenteritis or died of natural causes. (We’ll leave the mysterious 1923 death of Warren Harding to another blog post.)

So we can’t blame the failure of Fillmore, Pierce and Buchanan on tainted water. Just tainted politics.


Communicating from China: My five lifelines to the world

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Facebook is my #1 communications tool.

One of the realities of living in China is that I must communicate differently with friends and family.

No more drinks at the National Press Club. Cell phone calls and individual emails are an inefficient way to communicate with a large number of people.

So how have my communications methods evolved? Here are my five most frequently used sources — dominated by social media.

1. Facebook.

It is my lifeline. It is how I share my life experiences and travelogue through words and images. It reaches a large audience instantaneously. And it is my primary method of chatting with friends in America and Europe. The only problem is that Facebook is blocked by the Chinese government, so it is necessary to climb the Great Firewall of China to use it. That occasionally means some unplanned days of Facebook blackout.

2. WeChat.

I had never heard of WeChat when I arrived in China. I knew that Weibo was the Chinese combination of Facebook and Twitter. But I quickly learned (taught by my students) that WeChat is far superior. Almost nobody uses email in China. WeChat is the preferred means of communicating. Its “moments” feature allows you to post updates and photos like Facebook. And group chats allow me to communicate instantaneously with everyone in my class — or with a group of friends heading to dinner. It’s great. And there’s nothing in the U.S. quite like it. Yet.

3. Twitter.

I hadn’t realized just how much drivel gets posted on Twitter until I left the United States. So many American political reporters post so many unimportant updates. So many politicians have nothing to say. So many words (140 characters at a time). So little value. When I came to China, I spent a month “unfollowing” people who offered little insight and added some of the best tweeters in China. Now, once again, Twitter has value to me. But it is no longer my number one social media source, like it was when I was a reporter in search of breaking news, 24/7.

4. Skype.

In the past week, I have Skyped with people in Africa, Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia, Thailand, Texas and France. It is the most cost-effective way for me to do my job as an academic. The quality is usually decent, though, as with everything in China, technology is hit or miss. But Skype allows me to see Pam regularly and to communicate with friends from America to Europe to Asia. I also spend less on long-distance calls today than I did as a college student at the University of Pennsylvania. Thank you, Skype.

5. Email.

My students don’t use email. My colleagues rarely use email. Email is a very “Y2K” thing. But I still use it. It’s the best way to send documents or memos. And it’s the best way to have lengthy exchanges. It’s the only “old-fashioned” way I communicate.

Funny thing: None of these five methods of communication had been invented when I started my career as a journalist. My, oh my, how technology has changed our world.


Texas political winners and losers of 2013

The Texas political landscape has been transformed in 2013.

No, the state hasn’t gone from red to blue. But it’s gone from old to new.

Here are some of the politicians who have benefited — or suffered — from the transition:

Winners

Ted Cruz (Texas Tribune photo)

Ted Cruz (Texas Tribune photo)

Ted Cruz
Began the year as a U.S. Senate newcomer. Ended the year as the leader of the national Tea Party movement.

John Cornyn
Began the year as an establishment Republican nervous about a 2014 Tea Party primary challenge. Ended the year with most leading conservative groups either on his side or on the sidelines.

Wendy Davis
Began the year as a junior member of a minority party in the Texas Senate. Ended the year as a national figure and a ballyhooed Democratic candidate for governor.

Greg Abbott
Began the year waiting for Rick Perry to decide what to do. Ended the year as a virtually unopposed Republican candidate for governor.

Joaquin Castro
Began the year as a House newcomer in the minority party. Ended the year as one of his party’s rising stars on Capitol Hill and a guest on Meet the Press. Oh, he got married, too.

Losers

Rick Perry
Began the year as a presidential longshot. Ended the year as a president longshot — and a lame duck governor.

David Dewhurst
Began the year as the most powerful person in the Texas Senate. Ended the year fighting for his political life in a re-election battle against stalwart conservatives.

Rick Perry’s UT Regents
Began the year trying to topple the university’s president and football coach. Ended the year an educational embarrassment and a political liability for the Texas Republican Party.

Louie Gohmert
Began the year as an off-the-wall right-wing congressman who talked about terror babies and presidential birth certificates. Ended the year looking downright boring compared to Steve Stockman.

Domingo Garcia
Began the year itching to end Fort Worth congressman Marc Veasey’s tenure after a single term. Ended the year on the sidelines as Veasey appears to be cruising to re-election.


Adjusting to life in China: Little by little, I’m at home in Beijing

It's easy to adjust to the serenity and natural beauty of the Tsinghua University campus.

It’s easy to adjust to the serenity and natural beauty of the Tsinghua University campus.

Little by little, there are signs that I’m adjusting to life in China. I still speak terrible Chinese, but I’m making (slow) progress. Some other signs point to a shorter-than-expected period of adjustment in my new country. A few examples:

  • At my apartment, I’m eating more meals  with chopsticks than with forks, knives or spoons.
  • I take the subway and wander the streets of Beijing without fear of getting lost.
  • I venture off campus on my bicycle into the chaotic swirl of Chinese traffic.
  • I add money to my subway fare card without the help of my Teaching Assistant.

    I can take subway line #2 clockwise or counterclockwise and not get lost.

    I can take subway line #10 clockwise or counterclockwise and not get lost.

  • I price things in yuan and don’t convert to dollars anymore.
  • I leave my passport at home when I go out.
  • I don’t get upset when the Internet connection is really slooooooooooooooooooow. Like the Texas weather, just wait an hour and it’ll change.
  • I don’t get upset when a car is driving down the wrong side of the road and appears to be heading straight for my bike.
  • I’m posting on Weibo as often as on Twitter.
  • I’m beginning to understand the difference between the four Chinese speech tones.
  • I’m beginning to understand a few street signs. In Chinese.
  • I’m starting to get the hang of sign language. Or maybe charades.
  • I’m starting to think it’s normal to ride your bike after dark without any lights.
  • I’m starting to say “ni hao” to people rather than “hello.” (With Caroline Ward, it’s still “ni howdy!”)
  • I can introduce myself as “DOO-NUH REE-KUH” rather than “RICK DUNHAM.” (I’ll pass along my real Chinese name when my colleagues show me the spelling.)
  • I don’t check the Internet every day to see what’s happened to the Phillies … or Nats … or Eagles … or Redskins.
  • I come home every night and turn on CCTV in English to discover what good deeds President Xi has done today. And what’s new in Turkmenistan.
  • I thank my lucky stars that I took this job.