By Grace Rozembajgier
This weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the 2016 JEA National High School Journalism Convention in Indianapolis with some fellow U-Post and UHS yearbook members. Joined by more than 4,000 students from across the country, we learned and were inspired by professional journalists on the ins and outs of the art. In a blur of coffee, notebook scribbles, and handshakes, I left the convention invigorated and inspired by the true virtuosity and power of journalism.
Throughout the course of the convention, I visited multiple sessions hosted by news anchors, columnists, editors, photographers, teachers, reporters, and producers and was able to engage in one-on-one conversations with the pros. All of the sessions were unique and interactive, providing different tips and techniques for how to be a better journalist.
However, a common theme throughout was that of the importance of consistently incorporating a touch of humanity to your story. As I contemplated this artistry, I realized that it is this shared passion of writing and storytelling that makes us human; by sharing our stories we expand this passion to our readers and society. Everyone has a story, and with that, everyone has a voice. As journalists, it is our job to find the voices that need to be heard, and turn them into stories that evoke change and have the potential to change the course of society. In a time when major cuts are being made within the industry, it is perhaps now, more than ever, important for journalists to stay persistent in sharing our passion and, as the old Welsh poem goes, “not go gentle into that good night.”
In the midst of the hub of thousands of high schoolers where the Starbucks line never ceased to stretch around the corner, it was very easy to feel overwhelmed. However, strangely, this feeling was not suffocating, but solidifying. I found myself overwhelmed by the almost tangible opportunities that were sprouting before me, and rejuvenated with an intense love for journalism. Instead of getting lost in the sea of students, I found myself as I understood that this is where my curiosity and love of learning has taken me, and this is where I belong. Encouraged by the professionals to find a story in everyone, I am inspired to write pieces that will inspire others. This experience has left me inspired and so excited for where journalism will take me.