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Why Journalism?: My Entrance Essay

Why Journalism?
By: Myself

Last year, my roommate checked her e-mail inbox to discover a message from an old acquaintance of hers. The words read, "I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather. I know I don't know you very well, but if you want to talk, feel free to call." Naturally, she worried and told me. As she became more nervous, I began to wonder. She searched for his name and found a story on a Panamanian newspaper's online edition. Her grandfather, a public figure in Panama, had committed suicide. This tragedy (and yes, it was a tragedy, I do not care about anyone else's definition) occurred after I had set my mind on becoming a journalism major, and only served to convince me further that for me, to write is right. I had never experienced the death of a truly loved one, and before me this movielike situation played out proving once again that truth is far more depressing than fiction. This was the first time I realized the news’ impact on the public.

Last year, I enrolled in a course called Introduction to Media Studies, or RTF 305. One afternoon in discussion section, we viewed a picture of a young African boy starving and crawling toward a feeding station. Vultures were walking in his direction, likely waiting for an easy meal. In reading the text, we learned that the photographer had won a prize for the photograph, and he had not helped the boy reach the feeding station, nor given him any sustinence. The class discussed this issue with their great convictions, and the controversy loomed in my mind for hours afterward. One of the main reasons I am aiming for journalism as a major is due to this short discussion, which made me realize that I wanted to be there in Africa, in anywhere, doing what is ethical, and behaving both as human and as journalist. The unfairness of the photographer taking advantage of the boy struck me in a way I had never thought a picture could.

Last year, I was a French major, and kidding myself. When I was in fourth grade, I read a mystery novel. In the middle of a particularly suspenseful page, I looked up and felt as alive as ever, resolving that someday, someday I would make someone feel the way I felt then. I went home and asked my mother who this author was, and if there was a person behind the words on the page, or if they simply appeared. Could I be a writer? Of course I could. I could be anything. I would like to believe that this is still true.

Last year, I had no idea what I wanted. I was lost and wishing to go anywhere else, anywhere away from this state. But now when they ask, "Why Journalism?" I cannot stop talking.

I have always been fascinated by the written word and its effect on people, I have always loved to listen, and I have always kept a diary. Journalism seems like the ultimate adventure, and my calling. Please understand that this is what I have been praying, working, and crossing my fingers over for the past few months, and it means the world to me. I want to make a difference through informing the public of the truth, and in the right way, at the right time. Thank you.

5:25 am - Sunday, Oct. 29, 2006
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