I never knew journalism was a career.
I always thought that the men and women I saw on television magically knew what to say, and the articles I read in the paper just magically appeared.
But to think of a living, breathing human crafting those messages was something unfathomable to me.
Fast forward about five years and I’m now one of those human beings. I am a journalist, and a pretty decent one at that.
One thing that’s always surprised me as I’ve explored my chosen field is people’s persistent criticism of my peers.
Even the president thinks we’re a bunch of phonies.
Now I know this may seem a bit controversial, seeing how most of the American public has grown accustomed to the plan-Greek yogurt, let me hold your hand and coddle you journalism known as mainstream cable TV, but: just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not true.
Just because you don’t like what a journalist has to say, or what they produce, doesn’t mean the content is false, or should not be shown or even removed. Because at the end of the day, journalists are Americans too, and we have not only free speech, but also freedom of the press.
As a journalist it is not my responsibility to hold your hand and tell you everything will be okay. It’s not my responsibility to water down your drink because it’s too strong. It’s not my responsibility to sensor the truth.
It is my responsibility to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth-so help me god!
So if that truth is a dead body on the ground, that’s the truth. Or if its evidence of corruption, that’s the truth.
Truth is not a friend, nor a foe, but a mere existing being keeping us all humble and in line. Truth does not discriminate, nor pick or choose, but remains an unwavering lifeline that people-like me-can grab onto and find some solace in this world.
For others, truth is a scary monster threatening their well-being, their high-paying position or their overall fluffy comfort.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s not how this world works.
This world is rough and worn, broken and torn. Hatred and bigotry bubble from its depths. Violence washes over it like a tidal wave.
It is my job, as a journalist, to document and show the world this world’s natural wonders in all their glory, hatred, bigotry, violence and all.
To sensor this would be an injustice to the entire world, and to myself. By providing dishonest information, I am preventing my audience from growing, learning and expanding their horizons. By censoring my content, I am doing myself a disservice by being completely dishonest with who I am as a person.
I am a social crusader, political activist and I’m angry with the world. I’m angry because to live in such comforts of censorship and vanilla-yogurt news makes my skin crawl. I want to feel the molten lava of hatred and bigotry, I want to be washed by the waves of hatred.
I want to immerse myself in the truth, and nothing but the truth, and share it with the world. But as I open my mouth to sing the praises of our fair lady truth, I find that my audience is small, quite and afraid.
And as my eyes gaze over I see the blinding lights of KTLA or ABC feeding the masses pink cotton candy news, and I realize that there’s where our truth lies.
Our truth, as a nation, is that we are more comfortable remaining uniformed, coddled in political correctness and G-rated news than we are dredging through the trenches of truth.
But I can’t blame any of you.
I often think on how much simpler my life would be if I wasn’t s hyper-aware, critical of every move the government makes and so demanding in my conquest for the truth. Maybe I wouldn’t be losing huge clumps of hair in the shower and might get a decent nights rest.
I have many a time considered giving up on my future career of being an investigative journalist and opting for the milder office job-but I can’t.
Something aches within in me that forces me back into looking deeper into every situation, questioning everything and never taking no for an answer.
I am so lucky to be such an angry person living in the most angry-person friendly country in the world. I have every right to every word I speak, right or think. I have double that protection being a journalist.
Yet as I look across the stratosphere of social media I see little to no exercise of that right. The first amendment is now pre-Diabetic due to our apathy towards it.
It needs to be exercised, day in and day out. People need to start speaking their minds, they need to start branching out and reaching for the truth.
Now do not confuse my earlier statements that differing opinions are prohibited. If anything, they are more welcomed than apathy. The whole point of journalism is to get a conversation going. To create dialogue, to get people thinking.
However, when it comes to attacking one another, demanding the removal of another’s words, statements, images-that’s where the line gets drawn.
Everyone, from sea to shining sea, is entitled to their opinion-even myself.
As I sit here writing this article I reflect on my days in high school when I considered pursuing a career in cosmetology. I think of how different my life would be. I would probably already be making money in my field instead of facing the towering reality of another two to three of college to obtain a degree. I would probably be getting more sleep as my days usually run anywhere from 12 to 15 hours depending on how many articles I have to edit and publish. But, I probably wouldn’t be as happy.
So to my English teacher who suggested I look into a career in journalism, thank you, because I’m right where I’m supposed to be.
But that’s just my opinion, of course.