An Open Letter from a Student Journalist

Dear fellow adults,

Stop telling me that I am a liar, a cheater, and a mischievous person because I am a student journalist.

Stop telling me I won’t make money, that my career is dying and that my skills are unnecessary.

Stop telling me who I am, what I should be and what is best for my life.

Stop creating your own facts.

Too many times this semester, I have been genuinely offended by strangers who ask what I’m studying then proceed to inform me that I “B.S.” and that I do not tell the truth.

Excuse me, you obviously haven’t fact-checked your statement.

To those who question journalists, I ask:

Have you fact-checked what you have heard or read on your own? Have you listened to or read several news sources? Have you researched those news sources?How much is your own bias contributing to your knowledge? 

If you’re tired of reading or hearing about the “negative” situations in the world, what are you doing to make the world a more “positive” place?

I am not accusing you, I am just provoking thought. After all, I am a journalist.

That’s what I do.

Sure, not all journalists are ideal, just as not all doctors, teachers, ministers, business owners, therapists, psychologists, or other professionals, are ideal. Do you discourage them for their career choice, too? If you don’t trust any journalists, I think you’re ignorant.

You are ignorant of the amount of research us journalists do. 

You are ignorant of the rounds of copy-editing and fact-checking of articles.

You are ignorant of the all-nighters pulled in the newsroom.

You are ignorant of why we do our job: for you.

After all, we are journalists.

It’s what we do.

We work so you are aware of who and what is around you. We work so you can participate in this world we share and so you can understand your neighbors. We work to keep your government accountable for its actions that affect you.

Journalists have uncovered a plethora of crimes and scandals. Journalists uncovered Watergate, Klu Klux Klan murderers, and widespread cases of molestation within institutions, including the Catholic Church.

What would happen if these secrets were never discovered? If the people were never caught and stopped? 

What would happen if you had no communication of White House actions? What if nobody knew the need for humanitarian aid? Would there be any? What if you didn’t know about the false degree of the high school principle who runs your child’s school?

At my university, we are told we are storytellers. We have the power to give voices to the voiceless and use the written word to empower, inspire, uncover and hold people and institutions accountable. The press is considered the fourth estate for that reason. Maybe instead of criticizing us, you should take advantage of the learning and sharing opportunity we provide.

We do not work for the money. We do not work for the glory. We work for you and because we have a passion to tell the truth.

Dear adults, please stop assuming you know about my career path or what it involves. Please stop condemning this college student who is still finding and redefining herself.

I am just being honest because, after all, I am a journalist.

 That’s what I do.
Sincerely,

Your fellow journalism student.

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