While she cannot officially vote for President until 2024, Lillian Jochmann ’22 found herself at the epicenter of the 2016 presidential primaries through her exciting role as a Scholastic News Press Corps member.
Selected as one of 35 Scholastic News student reporters ages 10-14 from across the country, Jochmann has produced several articles in her role as a press corps member. However, her most high-profile reporting opportunity came in February, when Jochmann was sent to cover the 2016 Iowa Presidential Caucus. It was a whirlwind 24 hours for the young journalist, who began her coverage by attending a rally for Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton at Abraham Lincoln High School in Des Moines, Iowa. After passing through the Secret Service security screening, Jochmann interviewed several campaign volunteers and Clinton supporters before taking in a 40-minute speech from the former First Lady and Secretary of State.
“It was a big day for me,” Jochmann said. “It took a lot of courage to walk up to people and interview them in that environment. But the experience really gave me more
confidence as a reporter.”
The following morning, Jochmann answered an early 4:30 a.m. alarm bell and attended a taping of the TODAY show live from the West End Architectural Salvage, a furniture shop that had been converted into a TV set for the occasion. There, she received a behind-the-scenes look at the production of the show on the critically important caucus day and had the opportunity to interview several political and media luminaries, including Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Sarah Palin, and Lester Holt. Of all her interview subjects, Jochmann
most enjoyed her discussion with Holt, who marveled at the maturity of the young journalist.
It was a big day for me. It took a lot of courage to walk up to people and interview them in that environment. But the experience really gave me more confidence as a reporter.
“That was kind of special, to get a compliment from a famous journalist like that,” Jochmann said.
Jochmann concluded her coverage later that evening at Urbandale High School, a caucus site just outside of Des Moines, where she spoke with voters and viewed
the Republican caucus in the school’s community room. Advocates for each candidate spoke to the assembled crowd on their behalf before ballots were cast and organized
by volunteers. In her article, Jochmann noted how her experience covering the caucuses made her realize how lucky we are as a country to be able to pick our leaders.
Jochmann developed an early interest in writing when she was 10, submitting a series of travel articles to the online publication Newsmatic as she made her way through Europe and South America with her family. She later caught wind of the Scholastic News Press
Corps opportunity, and jumped at the chance to work as a student reporter.
It was incredibly cool to be part of this history-making convention, and to help show kids how and why politics matter to them.
n addition to her political coverage, Jochmann has penned several other articles for the publication, including items on a young girl whose life has been changed through
the development of 3D prosthetics; Girls Who Code, a program that encourages young girls to pursue knowledge in computer programming languages; and a conversation
with superstar country music recording artist Tim McGraw. However, her dream assignment came true over the summer, when Jochmann traveled to Cleveland to cover
the Republican National Convention in July.
“It was incredibly cool to be part of this history-making convention, and to help show kids how and why politics matter to them.”
Jochmann will continue on as a member of the Scholastic News Press Corps through the end of 2016, and she hopes to stay on as a member through 2017. She currently aspires to be a television journalist, and would one day love to join Matt Lauer on the Today Show.
“You have to wake up really early, but then you have the rest of your day,” Jochmann said.