Journalism follows the stories of humanity—our pains, our triumphs. And, much like people, journalism can be seen as a series of contradictions. Many think of it as a service, perhaps a calling for those in the profession. Others might view it as an art steeped in realism, with storytellers immersing readers into real people’s lives and struggles cast in vivid detail. It demands incredible speed in getting the word out, but that report must also be carefully cultivated to be free of mistakes. And, the ever-present conflict: should journalists be objective messengers of truth or “voices for the voiceless”?
I have thought about the way the public and journalists themselves look at the role of media in our societies. And, much like for people, I would say there is no one size fits all for journalism. Perhaps, to cover the wide spectrum of human experiences, it needs to have a range of these things. Be adaptable.
Among all these questions about its identity, there are a few concepts most can agree on: journalists inform the community. And the community is supposed to be told the stories that are relevant. The stories that matter.
And at the center of all of that is telling the most important part of the story.
If I were to tell you my entire life’s story, it would be a self-indulgent auto-biography, not a single letter.
My story, the one that matters, starts with me wanting to be an intrepid reporter when I was 17 years old.
I had been writing for my high school newspaper for a solid two years, covering the miscellaneous parking disputes, introducing students to new teachers, that sort of thing. It had become easy enough work, and were necessary assignments for me to understand how to write in a journalistic style, but after a while had become…somewhat stale in my eyes. I wanted to get my hands on something that had an importance beyond the very small scope of my high school—a story that people could remember, especially if it was exciting enough to make it on the first page.
The perfect opportunity presented itself in 2017: a student-organized protest on the University of Pittsburgh’s campus, where the Pitt community planned to demonstrate against the planned visit of the widely controversial Westboro Baptist Church. The news of WBC’s arrival was featured in the local newspapers and was the talk at my school.
So I did what any aspiring journalist would do. I rented a professional grade camera from my school, cut class and, not being able to drive on my own, I decided I would use public transit to get to Oakland.
I seemingly had all the reporting essentials on me: pens, pencils, a notebook, a camera, and a phone for recording interviews. I even wore a button-up and slacks for a more professional look so that I would be taken seriously among all the other reporters who might be there.
But I encountered near disaster at every turn. Despite looking up directions, it took me much too long to find the right route that would take me to downtown and then another one to Oakland. I almost got lost on the way there and back. I’d forgotten to check the weather before I’d left and took no umbrella or rain jacket with me and was at the mercy of the Pittsburgh rain.
I was damp by the time I finally made it to Oakland. Much to my dismay, the weather was even worse there. I fortunately had little difficulty finding Pitt’s campus and a small crowd of protesters who amazingly decided to still gather. So there I was, under a nearby tree and clutching a camera I knew I couldn’t afford to replace to my chest, hoping it would survive the downpour.
I made it work. I recorded my observations and interviewed the people there (who kindly let me stand under their umbrellas). WBC never even made it, the weather having turned them off a demonstration. Still, a group of 20 to 30 people who were definitively making a stand against what WBC represented in this weather was a story within itself.
When I had everything I needed, the sun was shining, and I looked like I had done several laps in an eight-lane swimming pool. The Port Authority driver pitied me so much he didn’t even make me pay the fare on my way home. But I didn’t care about any of that. I had covered a protest, a real one where people touted signs and made extraordinary statements all while a student played “Sweet Caroline” on the saxophone. The adrenaline thrummed in my veins, and I itched to get to a keyboard to start writing.
I tell you this story because it was a catalyst. It led to the moment I knew I wanted to be a journalist, capturing the moments of dynamic events and recounting them to others. To see the moment but not be in it.
Four years later, I still have the same drive and determination to discover, investigate and explore. My skills as a reporter, editor, photographer and multimedia specialist have all evolved and grown during my time at Point Park, leading me here—being The Globe’s Editor-in-Chief. It’s a path I hardly could have imagined for myself four years ago. And I have learned in that time, one intrepid reporter does not make a newspaper good. It takes many people with a passion like mine. A successful print publication must have a dedicated, resourceful staff to survive. It is the collaborative work of all those on a newspaper staff who collectively shape the newspaper to be what it is.
The Globe will strive to continue its legacy of serving the Point Park community with quality stories—ones that are needed to be told, some fondly remembered. And I have a good feeling we’re going to succeed in that this year.
Your faithful Editor-in-Chief,