I became a journalism major on a whim.
I was a sophomore English major considering adding journalism as a minor after taking the introductory journalism course. Toward the end of the semester, I received an email from professor Janet Blank-Libra with the subject line “You.” The email itself simply said, “Anna, you should be getting a journalism major or minor.”
And so I did. I didn’t know anything about news writing or interviewing or designing layouts. I just knew that I wanted to be a better writer, and it felt like something I should do.
Because of that email, I’ve been immersed in journalism the last two years of my time at Augie. And I’ve learned so much more than just writing skills. To put it plainly, I’ve learned the vital importance of journalism.
I learned about the work that goes into producing quality journalism and the nuanced ways that journalism affects society. I learned that journalism informs thoughts and shapes opinions. I learned that journalism keeps the powerful in check and exposes injustice. And, especially as the Forum editor, I learned that journalism can open the door to conversation and debate, hopefully leading to a more empathetic understanding of how to live with those we disagree with.
I want to say that I think everyone should be a journalism major or minor, but I know that’s not realistic. I do, however, truly think that everyone should actively engage with journalism. Whether it be reading the news on a phone or in a newspaper or creating content for others to read, I believe that participating in the give and take of journalism helps us tune in with what’s happening in our world. It’s not just about staying informed. It’s about being engaged and participating in the dialogue of society.
I know that journalism isn’t perfect. The system has its flaws, many of which can be attributed to the humanity of journalists and their subjects. But I think that as we continue into an age of citizen journalists and accessible information, it’s even more important for everyone to recognize the responsibility and power that comes with sharing stories and opinions.
I could write about the importance of journalism forever, but I want to end my last column with a thank you. Thank you to the faculty who have shown me what it means to be a journalist. Thank you to the Mirror staff who have made late press nights worth it. And thank you to the classmates and professors who were involved in writing content, whether it was an op-ed, letter to the editor or tweet of the week.
Read the news, share your story.