Becoming a journalist might have been the worst idea I've ever had. Why do I even want to do it? Maybe it's the emotional release of writing down my thoughts. Maybe it's the rush I get from holding my camera like a weapon. Maybe it's the exhilarating sense of adventure I feel roaming my city while investigating a story. Maybe it's the nobility of promoting the truth. Maybe I just love saying, "I'm on assignment," impressing my editor, and getting praise. Maybe I'm just a narcissist.
Ever since I disowned my finance major, I've been pursuing journalism in full force. I'm scared that if I turn around, I'll catch an irresistible glimpse of the money and glamour of a career in finance. So I keep running forward. But, still, every single day -- every single hour -- without fail -- I second (and third, fourth, and fifth) guess myself. What if I actually fail? What if a lucrative career in this field is simply impossible? What if nothing I can do is enough for me to succeed? It's disconcerting.
"Whatever you do, never, ever major in English."
"I mean … it's called Editing, Writing, and Media. And, like, I'm adding International Affairs once I'm a junior, and my concentration will be in political science. And I could add a minor, too. It's just in the English department…"
That's right. I'm majoring in English. All those departments to pick from, and I chose English. All those careers to pick from, and I chose journalism. *Cue looks of sympathy.*
Doubt in the plausibility of a career in journalism is completely understandable. The statistics are disheartening, everyone hates fake news, and the media's reputation is in shreds. Print has been dying for years and everyone knows it. Even news websites are declining as social media takes their place. The idea of building a career in the current landscape of journalism seems absurd -- from the outside.
After countless hours of research, I've realized that a career in some form of media is tangible, just not in the same way that it used to be. Art, photography, and writing are not especially lucrative career choices on their own but combined with one another, they are a powerful set of skills for a multimedia career. I've been practicing these skills for years and in the future, I can only see myself as a journalist slash photographer slash artist. Think about it. I investigate and write my own stories, and then I supplement them with my own original graphics or photography. And, as an added bonus, I use my own social media to advertise my content. In the future, journalism will be so much more than writing, and as long as journalists build additional skills, surviving as well as thriving in a digital environment is absolutely possible.
Print is dying and it's heartbreaking, but it's okay. I firmly believe that we can build a new journalism which revives the concepts of trustworthiness and ethics necessary to uphold society. Ultimately, beyond my personal motives for entering the field, the crucial purpose of being a journalist is to promote the truth and inform the public. And for as long as there is a democracy, there is a need for journalism. This, above all, reassures me that there is a future for the field.This is what I'm passionate about. Last night, walking through a bar with a camera around my neck, interviewing musicians and taking notes, I felt the most like myself than I have in months. I can't let that go, I can't.