There are those weeks that push you. And then, there are those weeks that PUSH YOU. This last one was the latter.
The blog has been just an aggregate for all of my random thoughts and ideas about whatever is going on in the world, but just through my life experience. I’ve evolved and grown so much in the near three years on the blog because I, sometimes too much, demand of myself to always never settle in anything I know or understand. A year ago, I had gone through my first NABJ convention with an idea of the type of journalism I wanted to practice and work towards. But then life happened and I went months without writing a feature or an in-depth research story. I love writing columns and it’s been really exciting for me, but that itch of running around to find interviews, working against an immediate deadline was something missing.
Student Projects for me this past week was a sort of return back to what got me into journalism in the first place. I had the immense privilege of being a part of a workshop to write in a newsroom (virtually due to, well, you know). I got pushed to do more research, talk to more people, think of more nuanced angles, and maximize every aspect of my reporting. It reminded me so much of those first few months being a high school newspaper staff writer. I felt like I had to return to all of the basics, the skills I hadn’t practiced for the better part of a year. And it was the best thing that I have done this summer.
The pieces I wrote this past week, from writing about LGBTQ+ members to the end of objectivity in journalism, I felt like I was able to investigate and learn more about the world. I learned about people’s life experiences and visions for how they want to create communities they want to be a part of. I learned so much more about the intricacies of an organization with a lengthy history, about the history of journalism, and about people who are pushing this whole field forward.
The column that I wrote for student projects is the piece I had always envisioned writing for the program. I have been doing so much work in learning about and practicing abolition in my life every single day. To have that chance to write a story about this whole journey I’ve been going through with fellow journalists who may not get to learn about abolition in their beats or their careers as an opportunity I did not want to take for granted. It was an honest account of why I want so much more in the world and how I hope to be a journalist in this world that will be for everyone. That was the story that I felt like could be so helpful in just shifting people to begin to think about abolition.
This past week wouldn’t have ever been possible without the incredible fellow reporters that I worked with. They’re inspiring, passionate, and some of the most hardworking journalists I’ve ever worked with. To the mentors, but especially my two mentors for print, I could not have had stronger guidance and wisdom to get through this whole adventure. I feel like I’m getting so much more focused around what gets me wanting to cover such nuanced and interesting stories. I don’t even know how to articulate all of this, but in short, I loved my experience this past week and this summer.
I don’t know what journalism for me will look like this year, but if anything, I want to ensure that whatever I do work on, I will always fight to center those harmed by the institutions that are oppressing people. I just am gonna continue to write, continue to learn, and maybe through all of this, we can get to see this abolitionist future in our lifetimes.
Being Noah Tesfaye #143: Reigniting My Passion for Journalism
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