In Defense of Journalism
By Katie Atkinson (high school sophomore from Atlanta, Ga.)
“Journalism is a dying industry.” You would not believe how much I hear these exact words or some form of them. I hear them from family members who hold daunting college tuition prices and statistics over my head. I hear the echo of them with my school administration’s refusal to provide funding for the news magazine staff. I hear it from friends who suggest that I can’t possibly make a living by following this crazy dream of mine. Despite the world’s unappreciative stance on it, journalism is my passion.
I guess that I could have chosen to become a doctor, lawyer, or anything else for that matter. I could have chosen something to settle the minds of my family and ensure my future security. For me, however, the only career choice is journalism. I have known that journalism was my passion since I first set foot into my Freshman newspaper class, met my first instructor and wrote my first feature story. I loved the power that came with having the entire student body as a readership, the rush of being on deadline and the bonds I have made with my community. I have learned that there is no substitute for the feeling of satisfaction I get whenever I finish an article or the joy that comes from conducting a good interview. There is no replacement for the pride that comes with tying up loose ends on a news package or providing an audience with knowledge and insight. There is no place I would rather be than reporting on a local event with my press pass and notepad in tote.
A month ago, however, I had the privilege of experiencing something that would solidify my passion for journalism forever. I was one of 42 students selected to participate in Jcamp, a journalism program sponsored by the Asian American Journalists Association. During my week-long stay in Washington D.C, I learned a lot about the world of journalism and, surprisingly, about myself. I had the privilege of hearing from well-known journalists. I got to shake Gwen Ifill’s hand and had the privilege of speaking with Bob Schieffer. I met students who shared my love of writing. I stood in awe of the Newseum and all that it had to offer. I wrote scripts, took videos and edited tape. Most importantly, I learned that no matter what my family, teachers, or friends try to tell me, journalism is not a dying industry. I saw instead that the world of journalism is simply being molded and is evolving into something bigger and better.
“Journalism is a dying industry.” It seems to me that the rest of the world is slowly starting to believe this statement. Thankfully, they are wrong. It is true that The Chicago Sun Times has laid off their entire photography staff and now relies on reporters with iPhones. I won’t argue with the statement that student run newspapers are being cut everywhere. I know that traditional news outlets are disappearing all over. Even though all of these things are happening, the truth is that journalism will never die. The community will always need accurate information and enjoy fresh insight on controversial subjects. In this age of digital media and technology, the journalism industry will continue to stand strong and will work towards adapting, evolving and expanding.
It is with confidence that I stare into the faces of my doubters and say that I will continue to pursue my dream, no matter what. There is a future for professional journalism and there is also a future for me. Published in Huffington Post Teen.