Why I haven’t been discouraged from becoming a journalist

A group of men walk by the "Windows to the Tenderloin" mural on Jones and Golden Gate created by artist Mona Caron, commissioned by the North of Market/ Tenderloin Community Benefit District.

A group of men walk by the "Windows to the Tenderloin" mural on Jones and Golden Gate created by artist Mona Caron, commissioned by the North of Market/ Tenderloin Community Benefit District. Photo by Nina Frazier

There are many reasons I have dedicated the last seven years of my life to college, and it wasn’t exactly to become a doctor.  I might not be performing open heart surgery or fusing any carotid arteries, but I think the role of a journalist plays an equally crucial role in the lives of any society.

I’ve chosen to pursue an education in journalism first because I see quite a bit of bad journalism out there, and second because I see it as the watchdog for the everyman. I see and hear issues from my friends, community and colleagues that I never hear about in the press. There is a small circle of people that have a voice, and the others often go unheard. This is a huge reason I’ve decided to pursue a degree in journalism, covering communities that are left out of the conversation like the Tenderloin and Bay View Hunters Point. Instead of trying to write stories about these people, talking primarily to community activists and politicians, I have tried to include their voices and their stories which often appear to be the most affected.

Plagued by debt and long hours, the average American citizen is either too tired or too disinterested to shuffle through stacks of financial statements, attend city hall meetings, or call up their local congressman to get clarification on their issues. This is why the role of a journalist is crucial, because they are an ambassador of the people, trusted to understand the issues and give appropriate context so that people can make conscious and educated decisions not only about how they vote, but how they see the world in general.

Most of all, I continue to study journalism because it is one of the most exciting times in the industry. It’s true papers are collapsing by the dozen and even seasoned professional reporters are having trouble finding work. Still, I choose to see this a sign that something big is on the horizon and feel that the nations universities and schools will be where a new form of journalism can be born. I know there is a way to make a sustainable business model for journalism in the future, and while I may not have all the answers, like any good journalist, I am willing to dig.

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