When I entered the front doors of the Newseum as a journalism student, I stopped in awe. I could not believe the massive size of the building itself or the quantity of people that were perusing the exhibits on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Most of those individuals were not journalists, but seemed engaged and excited to be looking at media history. I fell in love with the place because it made me feel as if people appreciated journalists, at least in the museum.
As a journalist, it is easy to become discouraged. When readers dislike the truths a reporter has exposed, they throw around terms like “mainstream media” and “fake news” without fully realizing what those terms mean or conceptualizing why they felt that way.
I am used to the disdain and mistrust that comes with being a journalist. I get it. We are watchdogs and that is intimidating. Sometimes journalists get it wrong.
But at the Newseum, there was no doubt in my mind that what I am doing as a journalist is important. I looked around and saw the impact of reporters exposing corruption, racing toward danger, helping the public.
It is fascinating to see a museum dedicated to a line of work that normally gets quite a bit of outrage. Seeing people who respect what you do, or at least are trying to understand what it is that you do is an incredible feeling.
I have had a terrible habit recently of saying that I want to be a journalist. It is true that I want to be a journalist, but it ignores the fact I am one already. I forget that in order to be a journalist, you need not be working for a specific publication or have everyone.
I am a journalist. I am a journalist who pursues truth in all things, seeks justice and pushes to give voices to those often forgotten. I do my best to uphold those values in my reporting and will until I die.
Journalists risk their lives, security, well-being and comfort every day. They do this to seek truth and report it. They deserve recognition and I am so thankful that I was able to see that recognition today.