Enjoy the 22Q with Francesca Chambers, Editor of Red Alert Politics. Red Alert is an online publication managed by young conservatives, produced for young conservatives from the parent company of The Weekly Standard and The Washington Examiner.
The 22Q is an informal interview series with young conservatives, connected to LI, who are working in the public policy process. The 22 questions ask them to explain what they do, and how they see politics and the next generation of the conservative movement. Their opinions are their own, and are not endorsed by the Leadership Institute.
Part 1: What I do
How I describe my job in 10 words
Bringing news to young Americans from a center-right perspective.
My day-to-day at work...in three sentences
Most days I start work at 8am or 9am and don’t finish work until 8pm or 9pm. A large portion of my day is spent looking for story ideas for Red Alert’s reporters and helping them shape their articles. I love appearing on TV because it serves as a nice break from the monotony of sitting behind a desk all day.
I couldn’t do my job without
Twitter. Twitter has erased the barrier, in many cases, between the “old guard” media outlets and newer, online-only publications like Red Alert, The Daily Caller, and Buzzfeed. Also, my amazing team of reporters.
Most important moment in my career (so far)
Launching Red Alert Politics. Being offered the opportunity to launch my own publication was a dream come true. I will always be grateful to my then-boss Bob Benz for plucking me out of obscurity and taking a chance on me.
Unexpected skill that has helped me the most
The ability to “see” news stories everywhere I go. My fiancé and I joke that it’s a disease because we’ll be out running errands and – wham! – I’ll be struck with a unique idea. Then I rush home so I can get it down in writing before I lose sight of it. It’s impossible to turn off.
The best advice I have received
If you have a positive attitude and work hard, someone will notice you and offer you a job. Likewise, no job is too small when you’re starting out. I wish I’d heeded that one more often.
Part 2: Politics
The biggest change I've seen already in politics
Twitter has completely changed the way campaigns are managed and reported. Twitter is both a politician’s best friend and worst enemy. Candidates who run their own Twitter accounts are more likeable because they seem more down-to-earth. But we all know the pitfalls of Twitter as well…
The element of working in politics that most surprised me
I hated working directly for candidates.
The most important issue many don't see yet
Student loan debt. It really is the next bubble – and all of us who borrowed responsibly will be on the hook (through taxes) to pay back the federal loans of those who didn’t.
Where I think the movement will be in five years
The conservative movement is at a crossroads. Social and fiscal conservatives seem poised to split and head down totally different political paths, with many fiscal conservatives joining the ranks of the libertarian movement. The next presidential election will be a good measurement of where the movement truly stands.
How I formed my political beliefs
I grew up in Kansas. I was born a Republican. My parents weren’t well off, and I had to work for everything I’ve ever had. I bought my first car. I paid my own way through college. That kind of life experience makes you really cringe at the idea of your hard-earned money involuntarily going to other people who aren’t willing to work hard for what they have.
Part 3: The next generation
What I'd say to my 18-year-old self
Don’t be so dramatic. Chin up; it will get better. You have your whole life ahead of you still.
Attending an in-state school with low tuition is the best decision you will ever make.
Don’t let anyone else define you.
Skill or experience I'd recommend students get now
Learn to write compelling editorials. If you want to work in government relations, public relations, campaigns, or on Capitol Hill, you need to be able to write decent opinion articles promoting your client, cause, or product.
Three things I'd tell every young political junkie to read
Red Alert Politics and its sister publications The Weekly Standard and The Washington Examiner, of course! Outside of my attempts at shameless self-promotion, you absolutely need to be reading POLITICO and the Huffington Post.
My most useful class in college
In one of my mid-level journalism classes, they made us learn how to write press releases, shoot and edit video, copy edit, etc. – things that had nothing to do with print reporting. I hated the class, but now I’m appreciative. It was my ability to do those things that made me an asset.
Part 4: Me, personally
The most fascinating figure in world history
Jesus. I know that sounds trite, but He really does fascinate me.
My heroes in fiction
Dagny Taggert of Atlas Shrugged. The world could use more strong, conservative females like her. (I don’t get a lot of time to read fiction anymore; read it while you still have time, kids!)
The most inspiring art I've read, seen, or heard
I’m a huge fan of Degas. When I own an original Degas dancer painting, I’ll know I’ve made it.
Earlier this year I went to see Starry Night and The Scream at the Museum of Modern Art. They really are the works of art they are said to be. Go see the exhibit if you get a chance.
I’d star in House of Cards or West Wing (choose one)
West Wing. I’d be the White House press secretary after C.J. becomes the Chief of Staff.
I can't get through my day without
Checking Twitter, even if it’s just for a minute. I’m addicted. My now-fiance almost declined a second date with me because I looked at my phone once during the date. Now he’s worse than me (and has more followers). I can only blame myself.
My connection to the Leadership Institute
I worked for Campus Reform for the first half of 2011 and served as a new media faculty member. I’m a graduate of several trainings, including the television training – which I highly recommend.