Dublin grad to be 'citizen journalist' at GOP convention
Dublin High School graduate Jessica Wilt will try out reporting for the first time at the Republican National Convention.
Wilt, a 1995 Dublin High School graduate, was one of eight citizen journalists chosen by the Huffington Post to cover the Democrat and Republican national conventions.
In the winner announcement, Arianna Huffington, owner and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post, said citizen journalists will be used to give a look at the events outside the usual media coverage.
Wilt was among four chosen to cover the Republican National Convention originally slated for Aug. 27-30 in Tampa Bay, Fla. Tropical storm Isaac, expected to develop into a hurricane, was in the Gulf of Mexico and prompted GOP officials to cancel the first day of the convention.
The Democrat National Convention is scheduled for Sept. 3-6 in Charlotte, N.C., and will be covered by four other winners.
Wilt, director of education for Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana in New York City, said she has always been into the arts, but has gotten into politics as an advocate for arts and education funding.
"I am a tap dancer by trade," Wilt said. "The arts have been my life career focus."
In high school, Wilt was a member of the marching band.
Her two brothers and sister also participated in marching band and her mother works at Dublin City Schools as a guidance secretary at Coffman High School.
As her career has expanded from performing to education, administration and advocacy, Wilt has gotten into politics in New York and Washington, D.C.
"I've always followed politics," she said.
"I have an interest in possibly getting more involved by maybe running for something or doing lobbying ... ," Wilt said.
"I want to educate politicians on something they may not know anything about."
Entering the contest to be a citizen journalist for the Huffington Post was done on a whim, with no expectations to win, she said.
Wilt said she was told the number of entries was overwhelming.
"It must have been the way I presented myself," she said of the win.
"I just set up a video camera and didn't do any editing."
Expectations for the citizen journalists are to post two or three photos, videos or blogs each day.
"I don't know what to expect next week to be honest," Wilt said. "There are loose directions."
As a former Tampa resident, Wilt has used contacts to set up a few interviews already.
"I'm making appointments at a few local college campuses," she said, adding students have obtained a permit to march at the convention.
Wilt also hopes to interview a liberal Florida pastor, local educators and attend an Americans for the Arts session featuring Mike Huckabee. Wilt blogs for Americans for the Arts.
"I'm excited because it's a totally new thing for me," she said. "I'm nervous because I don't know what to expect.
"This will be spur-of-the-moment and I tend to be an organizer."
Wilt's work while at the convention can be found online at huffingtonpost.com/news/offthebus.
Wilt's videos can be found at ustream.tv/huffingtonpost.