Why I Value Journalism

Clare Ravizza , Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

When I was a kid, I knew I was going to be a writer. I was a novelist, a poet, a playwright. I composed a play about the Titanic that my second grade class performed for the school. I filled notebooks upon notebooks with imaginary lives and fantastical stories.

My ideas were loud and I wanted them to be heard.

Then, as I started high school, my incessant pen stilled. I became quiet, my shyness and self-consciousness forcing me to retreat further and further back into myself. I swallowed my words back into my mouth and locked them in my chest. In my stillness, I disappeared. I was vacant, an extra in a fumbling mass of blue uniforms. Speaking in class was an acute kind of torture, and my discomfort blossomed hot in my cheeks for the world to see.

It was during this time that I learned to listen. Instead of my words flowing out, others’ flew in. I devoured the stories that were not my own. I began to tune into the news, gradually becoming more informed on current events and educated about world issues.

The 2016 election was the final push I needed. At the time, I was constantly consuming media and I had my own ideas and opinions aplenty.

Suddenly, the words spilled out of me in droves. Not only from my hand, but from my mouth. I began to share my ideas and opinions again.

But most importantly, the buzz around the election made me realize the importance of the media I was consuming, media that I took so easily for granted. So much of what we read, hear, and watch on TV has a profound impact on our beliefs and views. Balanced and honest media coverage is key to a healthy democracy. While some political leaders might condemn the media, they do an immense injustice to journalists who dedicate and risk their lives to bring us the news.

It breaks my heart to hear Trump call the media dishonest as one of our closest family friends is shot at in Iraq reporting on ISIS for the Wall Street Journal. He is taking great risks to bring us the information that I read over a cup of tea on Sunday mornings.

The news connects us to each other, to the struggles of our neighbors and of those across the globe. Journalism not only helped me find my voice, but each day it gives voices to millions that are voiceless.