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You And Your 'Real Journalism' Spiel Can Take A Hike Because You've Got Odyssey All Wrong

Odyssey is my safe place and an important part of who I am. You're not taking that away.

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You And Your 'Real Journalism' Spiel Can Take A Hike Because You've Got Odyssey All Wrong
Maya Parela

With summer drawing to a close, I've had a lot of time to mull things over. I'm about to start my second year of college on a completely different foot than last year, and so much has changed since then. In the beginning, I stumbled a lot. I fell seven, eight, nine times, and some days I'm still falling. Friends were made, friends were lost, social groups were sought out until finally, my beloved Buddhist home was found. Most importantly, however, I wrote. A lot. Right here on this very platform.

Finding Odyssey was the first good thing to happen to me at college. I've adored writing for as long as I can remember, but the older I got, the less I wrote. I became a student journalist in high school and had the time of my life while doing so, but even that was not what I was truly looking for. Odyssey opened up an entirely new world for me to explore. It's been almost a year since I joined my school's team, and I'm planning on being here for many more months to come. I remember writing my first article — the famous "Open Letter To My Future Self" that so many first-timers choose as their starting point. It was simple, easy, but most importantly, it was personal.

But I also remember when I started doubting myself.

When I first joined Odyssey, I wholeheartedly believed I was partaking in something special. I thought it was something to be proud of, something that defined me. Then one day I stumbled upon this article. Reading it completely obliterated my confidence in being an Odyssey creator. It made me feel ashamed, and shame was the last thing I wanted to feel about my favorite hobby.

In essence, the article is one giant slap in the face to Odyssey and its "misinformed and privileged" creators. Our content is "unoriginal" and "pointless," and everyone's better off joining a "real student news source." If you love writing, you should "become a student journalist, not a student blogger. You're better than that." In other words, journalists are better than bloggers.

This is only one out of dozens of articles that criticize Odyssey for ruining journalism.

However, the author fails to address one important detail in her article: Odyssey was never created be a journalism hub. In fact, it's marketed as an internet media company that "democratizes content, giving people the opportunity to share what's most important to them and their communities, enriching everyone with broader, more honest perspectives on topics they care about."

So no, of course, you're not going to see any news on here, and tearing down Odyssey for not doing something it was never intended to do is absolutely foolish.

Sure, there's some crazy headlines and controversial articles. Yes, people repeat topics. The reality is that Odyssey has over 15,000 creators, so it's no surprise that ideas are recycled. There are thousands of unique and well-written articles out there, though. Most of them don't make it to the front page, but they still exist. You just have to find them.

As for my own articles, I don't care if the whole world doesn't relate to something I write. What I choose to publish on the Odyssey is reflective of who I am as a person and what I value. Those articles you're calling "useless" and "pointless" represent pieces of their creators, no matter how goofy or serious they are. That's the beautiful thing about Odyssey — anybody can join and write whatever they choose. You don't need to have a background in journalism or a future in writing. This is a place for potential writers to learn what it's like to have your work published.

So don't be that person. Don't tear down an entire organization of creators because you're pretentious enough to believe that journalists are better than bloggers. If you just genuinely don't like the content we post, then don't read it. Maybe our articles are silly to you. Maybe they're stupid. Not everyone likes listicles and not everyone likes open letters. You're entitled to your own opinion, but that doesn't make us any less of a platform because you personally don't find us interesting. There's a reason why Odyssey has more than 30 million viewers—we're doing something right.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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