I attended a journalism conference at the University of Iowa with the rest of Pella Community High School's publication staff. Somewhere in the middle of a speech, a speaker said, “You need a soul to be a good journalist.” I couldn't agree more.
To tell a story well, you have to care about the people. I recently watched a YouTube video made by journalist ChrisUlmer, which reminded me of the words spoken at the conference.
It was about a girl named Mollie who has a stutter. A shooting happened at her school and she longed to tell the world about it. She was interviewed by journalists, but unfortunately, they cut her out due to the stutter. Additionally, the other people they interviewed did not go to her school where the shooting occurred.It made Mollie feel like she did not have a voice.
After I watched the video, I remembered another article I read a couple years ago. It was about a photographer who refused to take photos of children with Down Syndrome. Another photographer stepped in and took their pictures. All she asked in return was to get a photo with each kid.
Based on these stories, I conclude that it's not your talents that are important, but what you use them for.
In both stories, there were talented people in the journalism field. Yet, the roles they played were different. Ulmer was sharing Mollie's story while other journalists weren't. A photographer was willing to show the beauty within each child.
These stories have a special place in my heart, not only because I loved being a journalist for Pelladium, but also because the best part of my high school experience has been forming friendships, interacting and working with my peers who have special needs.
Anytime we could choose what to write about, I would write about something relating to special needs. I became the undesignated special needs reporter.
This fall, I plan to pursue psychology, journalism and a certificate in disability studies at the University of Iowa. My dream is to be a psychologist who works with people who have special needs and write articles about topics relating to special needs for psychology media.
I also have a photography business and hope to do many kinds of journalistic work about people with special needs. Through journalism, I want to spread awareness, advocate for and tell the stories of people with special needs.
Having the honor of working with people with special needs in our publication has taught me an infinite amount about journalism, the special needs community, friendship, leadership, the world, life and myself.
I hope I will somehow be able to inspire at least one person at the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication to tell the stories of all kinds of people. After all, everyone deserves a story at least in his or her life, for we all overcome and bless the world.