In case I haven’t mentioned it lately, writing and journalism is my passion. It’s what I fell in love with in high school. It’s what I studied in college and got my degree in. And it’s what I taught to student journalists for nearly five years as a student newspaper adviser.
In my latest for CNN Opinion, I reflect on my time as editor of my college newspaper and then returning to that same paper years later as the adviser. Both experiences taught me the importance of journalism and press freedom, but it was my time as an adviser that showed me the value of training the next generation of journalists!! I’ve been wanting to write this one for quite awhile and, well, the current administration just kept making the topic relevant for me.
As I was writing, I just kept thinking of how important things like the First Amendment and the free press are. They play such a vital role in our democracy and I’m incredibly scared of a world without them. The hard-working journalists out on the front lines are certainly my heroes. Each and every day.
Here’s an excerpt of the piece, which I sort of wrote as a letter of advice to all the young Woodwards and Bernsteins out there…
I can’t help but think of those student journalists when I see work by the thousands of journalists on the front lines today, many of them young. I want to say to them: Those whose voices are talking the loudest and deriding journalism don’t reflect the views of the majority of Americans. Your work is not going unnoticed by people who care.
If my experience walking in both sets of “shoes” — as a reporter and then as an adviser — has taught me anything, it’s how important it is to continue the journalism tradition for the next generation. I had amazing mentors and maybe someday, my former students will be a mentor for someone in return.
Indeed, there is a whole world of stories out there waiting to be told. Journalism makes a difference. Journalism matters. In fact, it might be just the thing that saves us all.
And, how cool is that illustration that went with my piece?? I think it perfectly captures what the press and journalism is all about, but also, the awesome responsibility the journalists of today have to teach the journalists of tomorrow. That’s something I never took lightly and it ended up being one of my proudest career moments.
You can read the full piece here and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! Love you all… xoxo