In Defense of Writing for a Newspaper

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.


xx, Brooke

Moving to Las Vegas

Ten years ago, I visited Las Vegas for the second time. The first had been a few months before, when my mom and I drove out to visit my grandpa in the hospital after he had a heart attack while vacationing there.

But this time, it was December, and I was there for a swim meet. Instead of staying at a hotel on the Strip or downtown like many families on our team, my mom and I took our RV and stayed at Red Rock Canyon. It was beautiful there, but I remember wondering why people liked Vegas, and how anyone could ever live there. Nature was something I grew up appreciating; drinking, gambling, hotels and crowds weren’t.

Fast forward: five years ago, I decided to move to Chicago, a city my father wouldn’t stop referring to as “the murder capital of the world.” Even though I would be living in Evanston, a suburb far removed from the violence of Chicago’s South Side, they resisted my decision for a long time.

Enter present: I am moving to Las Vegas. I’m ditching the Golden State for the Silver State and I’m damn excited for it.

Why, you may ask? I’ll be working for four months (and hopefully longer!) at the Las Vegas Review-Journal in the features department. Even though my end goal is to work in investigative journalism, the RJ has a wide audience in a city with a lot going on. This position will be the perfect way to hone my skills working in a well-established newsroom, and hopefully to learn a lot of new ones!

The past few months have been a whirlwind of emotions. Leaving college, I’d always planned to transition straight into a full-time job. I did everything I could to ensure this would happen; I interned to gain the right experience, talked to people in my field to obtain insight and advice and began applying for dozens of jobs months before I would graduate. I thought I had it all planned out, but God had a different plan.

When I graduated without a job in sight, I felt lost. On the last night of our drive home to California, I got into an argument with my dad and stormed out of the room sobbing. My mom found me outside and held me while I cried. At that moment, all the emotions of the past two months I’d been trying to shove away hit me. I had no job, so I felt like a failure. For my whole life, I’ve always felt I needed to be doing something worthwhile to justify my existence. The tears wouldn’t stop flowing as I listened to the voice in my head that whispered, “You’re a waste.” As my mom held me, she told me that simply wasn’t true. God created me and made a plan for my life, and His reasons for not allowing me to have everything I wanted in my timing would be made clear.

Two months later, I can see this. It’s been a summer of learning. Learning how to live in the home I grew up hating. Learning to find peace and even joy in a place of chaos. Patience and trust have never come naturally to me, but I’ve learned to trust in God’s timing through this period in my life. Instead of moping around at home, I went to the beach, tried new workouts, traveled, deepened relationships with friends and worked to find balance. I long ago learned that you can’t always control the situation you find yourself in, but you can control your emotions and reaction toward it. I started off this summer in bitterness toward God and my situation, but I’m ending it in joy, peace and contentment. It’s been better than I could have imagined, and now I’m ready to move on.

I prayed a lot about this position. I asked God to make it clear that this is where he wanted me, and He has. From a safe place to live with a wonderful family, to a great gym to work out in, it’s all fallen into place.

It feels like I’ve been hanging in limbo forever, waiting to start a new chapter of my life. Stay tuned folks; the chapter is about to begin.

xx, Brooke

Red rocks filter
On the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive, just outside of Vegas