I am 22 years old, and I write for a newspaper. I’ve been asked many times over why I work in a “dying industry,” advised that I’ll soon grow cynical and hard-hearted, and told that I’d be better off doing anything else.
The industry, and my own choice to work in it, has been endlessly criticized. Finding a full-time job at a good paper that pays enough to cover food, rent and college loans has proven a Herculean task. And after seven months of working at the same newspaper, I’m still an intern. So why do I hold out hope?
During college, I repeatedly questioned what my place was in the world of journalism. I’ve always loved to read and write, and I’ve never questioned that. But with a concentration in magazine writing, my hopes were dashed when I realized that working in that sector was neither as exciting nor as fulfilling as I’d imagined.
With the urging of a few mentors who had worked at newspapers, I decided that writing for a paper might be the job for me. I sent out dozens of applications, and heard back from a tiny percentage. One paper decided to take a chance on me for an internship. Though it hasn’t been what I’d expected, it’s been a far greater blessing than I could have imagined.
In my months at the Review-Journal, I’ve never stopped learning. Some days are more exciting than others, but even slow days are a lesson in self-motivation. I speak with people from all walks of life, hearing new story day after day. Beneath the differences in background, race and heritage is a sameness; people hurt. People love. People feel. In a world filled with people who use cynicism as a shield against the pain of emotion, so many choose to care anyway.
This is why I write. I write for the people like me, the fighters who refuse to give up even when we’re told it’s the wise thing to do. I’ve spent plenty of time feeling bitter about my position and feeling that I deserve more. But when I pause to look around at what I get to do, I feel ashamed.
Some people go into work every day hating their job; the beginning of a new work week excites me.
Some people wonder if there’s a better job out there for them; I know this is what I am meant to do.
And while some people will always choose negativity, I refuse to succumb to it.
That’s why I work at a newspaper. It provides a challenge. I, and everyone else who still believes in the fearless nature of journalism, will not be deterred. We fight on, in the face of endless criticism, because we believe in the importance of awareness. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to the news, to ignore the suffering of the world. It’s easy to pretend our little bubbles are all that matter. But take another look.
This world belongs to the strong, not the ignorant.
It belongs to those who gaze unflinchingly into the chaos, and still choose to hope.