Recently I was invited to answer a query by my high school journalism teacher: How many of us who took her journalism class and/or were on yearbook or newspaper staff had gone on to do something in the field of journalism after high school. I proudly posted what I do in new media. I love writing and working for Misfit Politics. I love the people I work with, and many times feel closer to them than anyone else in my life- even if we only see each other in the flesh a couple times a year. I love what I do. But there’s a part of me that doesn’t.
I’m still learning and there are seemingly no mentors to seek guidance from, so the learning process is taking some time. Sometimes I still feel new at the whole game. And that’s what it is- a game. For me, journalism was a way to tell the stories of life. I was taught to be a journalist was to tell the truth. Everyone has a story. Everyone. And it was my job to go out and find the story, write it, and share it. So when I started writing for Misfit Politics last year that was my goal- find and tell the stories of life, people, politics, America. And people were helpful at first. They offered advice and contact information and tech tips. It was great!
Then something changed. Or rather my perception changed. The seedy underside to political writing and new media surfaced. I’ve watched two people smile and hug then turn around and tear each other down to others. I’ve watched people who’ve not walked lock-step with a person who has more notoriety be verbally eviscerated in a public forum where they haven’t a chance of rebuttal. Personal vendettas are dragged onto public blogs. Misunderstandings blown out of proportion and dragged through podcasts. Jealousies traded. Scores never settled. Dirty laundry aired. And yet none of the parties involved will go to the other and settle whatever issues they have privately or maturely. Why? Who knows.
I won’t lie and say I haven’t changed. I have. That’s how life is. But I’m not fake. I have a big heart. I love people. I want to help. But I’ve become more cynical, less trusting, maybe a bit paranoid, and less likely to extend my hand if someone needs something. But I still hold to my original lessons on journalism. I’m here to tell the stories of life.