First off, I'd like to welcome you to what will be an ongoing blog series on all things news, features and the occasional blurb about my own personal projects and special observations.
Today I'd like to talk about the transition from "student" into "adulthood." I don't know about most of you, recently I have felt very old! This week, for instance, I was invited to speak at my sister's school - at Career Day. Her teacher brought me a paper which included a set of questions. As I was reviewing them I couldn't help but think about when this happened! Did I officially become a journalist the second I started reporting? At what level did my studies and articles drift from rookie to 'professional?' I can't help but feel that I am very much still a rookie - as a matter of fact, I still have a long way to go before I feel any sort of accomplishment with my life as far as my career goes. So why would a teacher ask ME to speak at something as inspiring as a career day?! When did I become qualified to even fill such shoes?
My answers came shortly after I stuffed some bags with "reporter's notebooks" for the kids and headed to that school. Once there, I started my presentation with the older students. They asked a million and one questions. How did I write? Who did I write about? Is it hard to write? But then, this tiny little girl, asked me the best question of the day. She wore a bright red ribbon in her short brown hair, and I peered her way looking at her stretched arm that was gasping for air over the array of heads in front of her. Then with a big smile she asked me, "Why did you choose journalism as a career?"
At first I didn't know what to tell her. It was such a complicated and simple question all at the same time. How could I explain to her the complexity of the world, and the role of the journalist in deciphering such codes? How could I explain to her that sometimes the world isn't a nice and beautiful place, and that the same God that she was taught to love and respect in her Catholic school was a topic of debate in some parts of the world?
After thinking about all the possibilities, I told the little girl that I loved telling stories. I told her that every single person has a different story. And that these stories matter, regardless of how insignificant they may seem. I told her that even she had a story to be told, and that this story could help another person in a similar situation, thus opening doors that weren't once available. Most importantly, I explained that sometimes there are people who cannot tell their stories, and it was my job to tell them in an EFFORT to make the world a better place.
Rookie or professional, adolescent or adult, this career day event helped me realize many things. For one, it is important to keep the bigger picture in mind. I still don't have all the answers, but the big picture still remains: I love journalism because of what it entails. It allows people to be informed of things not available to all, uncovers the injustices in hopes of correcting them, and, although the system is often flawed, I'd like to believe that there are people who still view journalism as a social duty.
Are things perfect? No. Will things get better soon? Probably not. But all journalists should keep the true spirit of the field alive. Rookies are often seen as having unrealistic views, being naive and completely disconnected from the way things are. I say, if staying true to the real reasons I began working in this field in the first place make me sound naive, then....
I suppose I am a rookie.