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What I learned this trip is a difficult concept to grasp. I learned so much and in a variety of different areas that it’s hard to convey. Instead of rambling in a long, dramatic fashion, I decided to make a list of some of what I learned.
- Journalism is not dying, but changing.
- The Statue of Liberty is more beautiful in person; the Empire State Building is not.
- Investigative journalist is not a title you hold, it’s something you are and act upon even when you’re not technically in an investigative division.
- Nobody has done anything interesting between the ages of 20 and 25.
- Business cards that link to a website are better than normal business cards, because you can use analytics on your site to determine if anyone actually visited it.
- Annoying inconveniences can be fun if you’re with the right group of friends.
- The technology you have doesn’t matter as much as your creativity and ability to use it.
- Coming on this trip was the right decision and everywhere we went told us so.
- Brooklyn is beautiful during snowstorms.
- Feminist protesters are great at sign-making.
- Journalists are both worried and determined regarding the incoming administration.
- An inauguration is beautiful regardless of who is being inaugurated.
- Don’t discount the value of everyone thinking they’re not good enough to apply to something; it means that if you apply, you have a greater chance.
- Never say no to an incredible opportunity.
- Don’t be afraid of missing out on something you don’t want to do.
- The people and work are more important than the perks, but there’s a fine line between perks and decent benefits.
- Caution is more useful than fear.
- Cliche: you never know if you can do it unless you try.
- It is more important to figure out what you don’t want to do than what you want to do.
- Time is a valuable commodity and is a major consideration in deciding what you want to do.
- Hard work and determination will get you where you need to be if they don’t get you to where you want to be.
- Standing out is harder than fitting in, especially to an employer.
- Ask questions. Always ask questions.
- Take people up on their offers. Contact them and see where it goes from there.
- Don’t be afraid to be nice to people you think are great. Let them know they’re great.
- If you look like you know what you’re doing people are less likely to mess with you.
- If you’re not afraid in a situation and others are, listen to their fear because it might well be self-preservation in the works.
- Similarly, evaluate risk on a case-to-case basis. You never know what risks you’re willing or not willing to take until it happens.
- One job or one city is not a lifelong commitment. Go where you want to go and the rest will evolve.
- Visit a place before living in it. It might surprise you.
- There is no one right answer for everything.
- Success is unique to each individual. There are few universal laws to success. That means for the most part, nobody can say whether you’re doing it right or not.
- If you feel like you don’t have friends, it could possibly be you haven’t found the right ones yet.
- If you want recognition, you have to give it before you can receive it.
- When traveling, allot twice as much time as you actually need.
- You can fit as many people in an elevator as your mind can imagine.
- Distance is an artificial construct. If you don’t think about how many miles you have to walk to get there, the distance seems less.
- Mentors are underrated. Get one. Get many.
- You are way cooler than you give yourself credit for.
- People are kinder than you expect them to be, if you give them the chance to be.
- Listen to your gut and know when not to.
- Finally, all of these rules are changeable. They’re simply the thoughts and musings I agree with right now. I might have another experience that changes my mind about what success is or about how one should travel. The important part is realizing that it’s okay to change and to evolve. That’s what life is.
Posted in Uncategorized on January 24, 2017
I watched the 2017 presidential inauguration of Donald Trump in person. I was there. I saw it.
I was interviewed by my local news station afterward–which was strange as a journalist–to be on the other end of the interview. They asked me how it felt to be at the inauguration. Regardless of anyone on the trip’s personal political affiliations, we were there to witness history. This election and inauguration were like nothing our country has ever been witness to.
As a journalist, I often think of the saying about news being a first draft of history. That thought was especially prominent during the inauguration.
President Donald Trump has made clear his opinions of media organizations and has said he will not hesitate to make things more difficult for journalists. As I sat in the crowd amid avid Trump supporters booing CNN I realized that his supporters agree with his opinion of journalism. When he swore to uphold our constitution, I swore that I would be one of the people to hold our leader accountable.
Opinions of specific journalists and news organizations may not be high, but one can’t dispute the function of truth in a democracy. An informed populace is necessary for democracy to function properly. If people do not know what is going on in the country, how can they make responsible voting decisions that align with their beliefs and are supported by evidence.
Now that Sean Spicer, White House press secretary has decided that the president’s word is law regardless of truth or moral standards, it is more important than ever for journalists to seek the truth and report it. To tell an “alternative fact” (lie) about something as inconsequential as inauguration attendance numbers is frustrating to those who value truth and honesty.
To be honest, I hope that Donald Trump will “make America great again” for all people and be the best president we have ever had. I do not wish mistakes upon him. I am not rooting for him to fail. I want our country to live up to its greatness. But as a journalist, trained to see beyond the fronts and walls people put up, I worry. I worry while hoping that I’m worrying for nothing.
Posted in Uncategorized on January 16, 2017
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.
Posted in Uncategorized on January 12, 2017
Everyone but journalists thinks journalism is a dying profession.
As journalism students, we are asked why we chose to pursue a dying profession. The answer ranges from incredulity at our profession’s demise or a proud martyr mentality: “Because it’s important.”
Today we visited WNET, a prominent public broadcaster in New York City. We met with the senior director of communications, who said journalism is not dead or dying, but changing and expanding into new platforms.
This led me to wonder whether journalism as a profession is dying both physically and conceptually.
Physically, according to Pew Research Center, the newspaper sector fell seven percent in 2015. Newspaper employment had 10% declines in 2014, more than every other year since 2009. In that way, one could say journalism is dying.
Conceptually, journalism is in a reinvention period. With the influx of technology inundating our society and integrating it into every sphere of existence, journalism is coming to a point where it may be unrecognizable from its original intentions. Growing and changing in form and impetus, journalism is not what it used to be.
Regardless of supposed physical or conceptual death, I believe journalism is a phoenix. Although it may ebb and flow and die, it always returns. The world may look at our careers as a pile of ashes, ineffectual and insignificant.