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Why do you (I) want to be a journalist?

June 18, 2012

It’s the question I’ve received for years now. It’s a legitimate question for anyone – why do you want to do what it is you desire to do. So, this post is my answer to that question. It doesn’t have to do with my years in high school journalism or my semester in college learning about various aspects of journalism; both helped me, but they didn’t decide my fate. What decided my fate was, yes, ultimately, me, but it didn’t hurt that my mom always had the local news and the “Today” show on in the mornings before school. It didn’t hurt that I live to write. It didn’t hurt that I have a soft spot for reading. It didn’t hurt that I enjoy deep conversations. It certainly didn’t hurt that I love more than anything to, I know I’m a nerd, to learn.

OK, so why do I want to be a journalist?

I want to be a journalist because I want to tell stories. I want to dig deep into what makes a person who he or she is, and I want to share that with the world. Yes, I want to do that to give the person a voice, but beyond that, I want to show others that they are not alone. Every person on the planet has been through things that have made him who he is. Unbelievable, tragic, amazing, glorious things that can make a person feel triumphant and worthless. We’ve all felt both ends of the spectrum and have been somewhere in the middle. As a journalist, I want to give people hope. I want to show them it gets better. I want to show them that people can do extraordinary things. I want to show people things that make them grateful. I want to show them things that make them believe in the world.

I want to be a journalist because I want to learn something every single day. It’s a little naïve, but I really care about the world. I like learning about its history because I’m in awe of how far we’ve come and how much has been passed on. I’m entranced by how different people are, and yet, how we are all tied together by this fact that we are all on this Earth at this particular moment. I’m fascinated by how a single person’s existence is just a blip on the timeline of the existence of the world. A journalist doesn’t create something from nothing; a journalist listens and asks questions and researches and observes, and he or she takes that information and forms a story. A journalist never stops learning because that would defeat the purpose of journalism.

I want to be a journalist because I want to document history. Few things would make me happier than to be able to say, “I was there” about the world-altering events in history. In fact, I’m happy to be able to say, “I cannot believe I had a chance to see this” when I see coverage of events on television; thank God I live in an era with live television broadcasts of news events. But enough of this love fest; I want to be a reporter. I want to be the person in the midst of the action who has to yell at the camera because the excitement is happening all around her or Mother Nature is too loud. I enjoy watching videos and reading articles of past events – be it the announcement that JFK is dead or the queen’s coronation; I get goosebumps from being able to see such momentous occasions that happened decades ago or seconds before. I want to write the first draft of history, and I want to be there when the things future generations will read about and look up videos for occur.

I want my work to mean something. No matter what I do, journalism or not, no matter where I go, near or far, I want  what I do to matter.

Above all, I want to be happy, and I want to bring others happiness. Journalism is the method by which I can do both. I think.

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