It was the first press conference I'd ever been to. I stood among the crowd of reporters in the back of the room, listening as both the Washington D.C. police chief and mayor presented the District's 2012 crime statistics. Then, when Chief Lanier opened the floor for questions, I timidly raised my hand. I was by far the youngest and least experienced reporter in the room.
But asking a question at that press conference led to writing my first story for the Post - on the very first day of my fellowship. The following weeks would include more bylines and even a spot on the inaugural parade route, covering the event as an official reporter for The Washington Post.
Knowing Ann Devroy had a penchant for crime reporting, as her widower Mark Mathews told me when we met for lunch a week later, made that crime report story all the more meaningful. Every single step I took during my time in that city, I knew I owed to Ann. Receiving this fellowship in her honor has changed and continues to change my career as a journalist in wonderful ways.
Because of Ann Devroy, I am a better journalist. We all are. Ann's talent and love for her profession enabled her to work in one of the best newsrooms in the world - and because of her, I and 14 fellows before me have had that same experience. "Gratitude" is not strong enough a word for the appreciation I feel for this opportunity.
Because of Ann, I lived my dream. When I tried to express my gratitude to Mr. Mathews, he said, "Every single one of the Devroy fellows has been a tribute to her."
I could not be more proud.