Why Journalism?

I discovered journalism at my hometown community newspaper, The Pilot, as a way to tell stories — to praise the unsung heroes. I learned that a local vigil for the homeless deserves just as much to be on the front page as the county’s superintendent of public schools.

I embraced journalism at The Daily Tar Heel, developing my skills as a daily-news and enterprise writer while finding my journalistic passion: education reporting. During my four years there, I thrived off of reports, policy discussions and data analysis, and I became consistently more adept at overcoming administrative bureaucracy to get the sources and information I needed. I also learned the importance of social media and the digital side of news, and I oversaw a Daily Tar Heel blog that was updated at least three times a week, as well as a Twitter account.

I pursued journalism at The Philadelphia Inquirer and at The Chronicle of Higher Education, gaining internship experience in two very different settings. At the Inquirer, I learned how to be a quick and accurate copy editor with a keen eye for spotting errors in crime stories and a flair for creative headlines in print and online. At the Chronicle, where I’m currently interning, I’ve expanded my knowledge of higher-education news and trends, fine-tuned my enterprise reporting and writing, taken trips for stories and improved my use of social media as a journalism tool.

I’ve been asked why I continue to pursue a career in journalism despite the somewhat dismal job prospects. I’ve asked myself that question. But questioning my motives for remaining in journalism has given me confidence in my decision.

I want to blend the people and the policy. I want to tell personal stories while linking their anecdotes to broader societal issues at hand, backed up with hard data and analysis of trends. I want to put a face to the often impersonal realm of decision-making, whether it be a state legislature or a university’s board of governors. I want to make sure those stories reach readers wherever they are — and that means using the vast potential of the digital world to tell the news creatively and effectively.