Urban Journalism Workshop Journal

Coming to this camp, I was ecstatic to learn about journalism. A kid, you take things at face value. As you get older, you learn to question things and that’s exactly what being a journalist is about; questioning things enough to get the truth.

I also came to this camp to learn to broaden my love for reading. Not just reading books, but reading people, and the world at large. My deep sympathy for others led me to want to learn more how to learn about the problems in this world and if not fix them, but to expose them.

When Dave Umhoefer came, it was amazing to see someone who had been in the journalism field, out working with people, come talk to us kids. The fact that he had won a Pulitzer gave the first impression that he would be placed on a pedestal. I was surprised at his humble attitude and openness to share his stories. He had no qualms about telling us about his job, both the positive and negative sides.

Dave was also humble about the fact that he had won a Pulitzer prize; in fact, his favorite story he had covered was one in a small community. Rather than dwell upon the looming problems of a local government, Dave’s concern seemed to lie within the small voices affected by an urban drug problem, ignored by local authorities.

Whether this micro focus on the regular people has to do with Dave himself, or the human-interest profession at large, I am not sure. Nevertheless, it is refreshing to meet a newsman who seems to have genuine concern for the public.

It is well and fine to report on corruption in high-up or middle positions, but if policies remain rigid down below, where it counts, then journalism hasn’t truly done its part. Journalism is not the catalyst in itself, but rather to spur new thoughts in the readers by presenting as balanced a view as possible.

As journalists, we have to be able to extract information without losing sight of the humanity within those that we talk to. Above all, as journalists, we all should strive to be remembered for preserving our humanity in the creation of news. We may win praise or rewards in the journey, but the real prize in the end is giving humanity the truth. And for that, all journalists should be proud of.

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