Opinion

Confessions from a student journalist | Guest column

I have something to confess.

I really like my job. Not the one that pays the bills – that's a menial labor job, and it really sucks. I'm talking about my other job, being a journalist.

I'm normally really shy and timid around strangers, but as soon as I venture out with my camera, pen, and my notebook I always discover a confidence I don't actually possess.

Using my pen as my weapon and the name of my paper as my shield, I have to ability to thrust my questions forth into the world, attempting to delve further than average curiosity implores.

My enemy is the unknown, and my goal is the truth and with these in mind, I'm bolstered to ask the questions that everyone is thinking but few are poised properly to ask.

While this sentiment is romantic, I can tell you that the Fourth Estate still plays a major role in our society.

For one, it is a journalist's responsibility to get all the facts – to tell the whole story, devoid of opinion and as far away from prejudice as possible. No one is saying we can't have opinions, but they belong in their own section, away from reporting the news.

And right there, you can tell the difference between real journalists and those that choose to report mainly from an opinionated platform.

The Glenn Becks and Rush Limbaughs. These people do very little to provide real information to the public and are only making the rest of us look bad.

As a rule, we are responsible for telling you what happened. It is your job to come up with an opinion from the information we give you.

But, as many have been kind enough to point out, journalism seems to be edging it's way out of the door. Newspapers are being put down for quick access blogs. Magazines are being left unopened on racks for their digital cousins.

Call me certifiable, but the fact that most bloggers now consider themselves journalists just means that those of us who choose this profession need to be that much better.

If only to act as a control, a counterweight for the majority of ham-handed reporting and conjecture that's out there.

Notice, I'm not calling for these blogs and sites to be shut down. That's because they don't need to be. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, no matter how wrong they are.

The other responsibility of a real journalist is to inform the voting masses.

That means through experience and understanding, we are supposed to always write and report with that goal in mind.

Will this story add to the average voter's knowledge and help further their ability to select the right candidate for office?

It's questions like this that add to the romance and intrigue I find in my job.

Clad in my invisible armor of qualified privilege and with the blessing of my editors behind me, I can't help but get excited as I work through interviews, phone calls, and emails.

In the end I feel like a storyteller. Maybe not on the same level as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Homer, or any of the other greats. But their oratory and literary style lives on through my work, and that itself, is an encouraging thought.

 

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