For four years of my college experience, I was involved in my college's student newscast. I started by operating news camera three, which was the most challenging camera to maneuver. Camera three moved back and forth from the weather wall to the anchor desk and sometimes in less than 10 seconds. (not the easiest) You learned a lot. I eventually moved up through the ranks and ended my time at OU Nightly as the Senior Producer. Which meant I was in control of more than just a camera. I oversaw the whole newscast plus all the Producers. I worked hard throughout my time as a college journalism major. I found out a lot about what being a journalist means currently.
Student journalists are dodged more than any other journalist. You don't have the credibility of a paid company to back you. You don't have a jacket, hat, mic flag or any other regalia representing a news company you work for. They avoid you like the great plague. People often say, "No one trusts the media." "You are entering a dying career." "You aren't going to make a lot of money." None of that means anything to me. I'm backed by the First Amendment. I'm backed by ethical journalism. I'm backed by a community that believes in current events, justice, and democracy.
This month I sat in a hard plastic chair at the end of my college graduation and read a statement that gave me chills. Surrounded by a group of 20 something-year-olds we read aloud an amendment that quite literally, will define our entire careers.
We read: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I had several opportunities to not go into the news industry. I could have chosen not to follow my career path. I could have kissed my journalism diploma goodbye. I could have listened to the people who aren't aware of the importance, significance, and strength it takes to tell the news every day. But I like to follow the path less traveled. I like to remain on my toes. I like to be entertained, but even more so I like the freedom of speech. I want to continue to give a voice to the voiceless and I will do so as I embark on my next adventure as a new producer. We don't have the freedom of speech to talk about whether or sports. We have the First Amendment so we can talk about the things people are too scared to talk about and do the research on. We have the First Amendment right to change the world, one news piece at a time.