As I write this, I am preparing to fly out tomorrow to attend the National College Media Convention in Washington, DC.
Unlike some of my peers, I didn’t grow up wanting to be a journalist. I only became interested in journalism as a graduate student.
A few personal events in my life and major world events drew me to journalism in recent years. Firstly, the work of Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey from The New York Times and Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker in investigating sexual misconduct allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein showed me the positive impact investigative journalism can have. As a result of these journalists and the victims of harassment and abuse that have come forward, there is much more public awareness regarding workplace abuse and sexual misconduct.
Secondly, I got tired of dealing with people in politics. From the time I was finishing my bachelor’s degree to around four or five years later, I worked for Democratic Party candidates in various capacities.
It wasn’t just dealing with candidates that was frustrating, though there literally are political candidates who throw tantrums that involve hurling objects at their subordinates. It was also living in DC and constantly hearing dumb gossip that nobody outside the capital cares about, like which senators don’t like each other.
It was also seeing Democratic supporters turn on each other in the 2016 presidential primary for supporting the “wrong” candidate. Unfortunately, I already see that happening with the upcoming 2020 election.
I also noticed too many party staff and campaign supporters who refuse to be critical of their own candidates. Democrats I knew on social media talked about how horrible Donald Trump is to women while posting malicious comments about women who came forward with their experiences about Bill Clinton and Al Franken. It was journalists who were willing to critically examine the behavior of these men when party leaders and supporters often weren’t.
I may or may not continue in journalism after I graduate, as many of us know how difficult jobs are to come by. Regardless, I believe it’s important to remain critical of those in power, no matter their party affiliation.