The struggle with journalism is that if you do slip up and publish something not entirely accurate, your reputation is tarnished and you could never land another job in the field. The ups and downs of journalism are strenuous, and nearly every successful reporter I’ve met has shared stories of a time they were down on their luck and thought they would never make it.
While this is true in many career paths, I feel that journalism is different due to the mass visibility of journalists. By putting yourself in front of that camera, you open yourself up to so much criticism and judgment. As hard as it is to not let that criticism get to me, I keep pushing because I sincerely believe that the world needs me as a journalist. I want to be someone high schoolers pursuing journalism can look up to.
Being a trans man, I never saw anyone like me in the journalism field. This was widely discouraging, especially alongside people constantly telling me that due to my gender identity, I would never make it as a broadcast reporter. When I hear these expressions of disapproval, I think of a time when Corey Johnson, of The Tampa Bay Times, shared a story with me about his own experience in the field. Corey told me that when he started pursuing journalism, he didn’t see many African American men, like himself, in successful investigative reporting positions. He also said that not even his own parents initially supported his pursuit of a career in journalism.
Hearing Corey’s story helps me believe that I can be the first person like me to be successful in broadcast journalism. But as much as I feel that the journalism field needs me to be that person, I know that I need journalism more.
Before I discovered journalism, I had no clue what I wanted to do after high school. I had no motivation and the only future I could picture for myself was living in a van down by the river. (Yes, like Matt Foley.) I didn’t think there was any scenario in which I could enjoy working.
Now, after discovering my passion for journalism, I am competitive, motivated, and fiercely determined. I want to change the world with the stories I write and produce. Day in and day out, it gets harder to keep my head held high, but I push through because I know that I will never be as passionate about anything else. I realize that journalism will live on with or without me. But I also know I can not live without journalism.