The responsibility of ability
Presenting a journalism lecture at the Columbia Scholastic Press Association conference, senior Mary Hierholzer practices the chance to inform. Now heading to college, Hierholzer considers the responsibility of putting abilities to use for worthwhile causes.
A New York City taxi cab driver, a Seattle homeless man, a Fresno City Councilmember. What do these three have in common?
They are the people who, at random times in unexpected locations, have recently told me that journalism is the most important job.
Journalists are generally portrayed as pushy, nosy, opinionated, life-ruining, insensitive jerks. For this reason, I fear the thought of being a journalist.
I don't want this to be my label, and I especially don't want this to be my job. I hate bugging people for information and quotes, and I pretty much live my life trying not to step on peoples' toes.
So why am I majoring in Communications and hoping to become a journalist? I'm not sure yet.
When people ask what I'd like to do as a career, I always clarify that I want to find a niche in some sort of neutral journalism. Perhaps I can spend my professional days writing columns about travel. Something safe and simple that doesn't get in anyone's way.
But as a Christian journalist, do I have a responsibility to promote truth in a corrupt business world? It's an ugly job that I would love to leave for someone else, but if I am capable of it and wanting to do something truly useful in life, then maybe I should consider doing that in a realm where I can take action.
The pursuit of truth and goodness is a difficult but crucial road to take. History has provided a number of figures who have stepped up to make change instead of sitting back and watching bad things happen, in their respective areas. Martin Luther King Jr. furthered civil rights and puritans held fast to religion.
"Everyone has some sort of strength, whether it be journalism, music, public speaking or art. Imagine how powerful goodness could become if everyone took advantage of their gift to do something valuable instead of holing up in a safe, comfortable home, scared to take chances." --Mary Hierholzer, '12
Although writing honest articles may not be as significant as these resistances, surely it has some worth. I may not be the most liked journalist, but at least my strife would not be in vain.
How far should one go to get the truth? Provided that I take the harder route, does that mean I must be one of the nosy journalists who stops at nothing to get the real story? I hope not. If the only difference between the upright journalist and the jerk journalist is the motive, then journalism isn't the career for me.
Though I wish that I could claim tons of experience in the field of journalism, I'm just a high school senior right now. Therefore, I truly don't know what the solution is. In years to come studying journalism at Gordon College, I hope to learn the ropes to moral reporting in some form: where to draw the line, what boundaries shouldn't be crossed, what jobs I shouldn't take. And on the other end of the spectrum, I hope to discover what I should strive to accomplish, and gain the skills to carry it out.
As of now, this is just one big idea placed in my head by a cab driver, a homeless man and a City Councilmember. But, to me, it is an intriguing and worthwhile concept to consider. Everyone has some sort of strength, whether it be journalism, music, public speaking or art. Imagine how powerful goodness could become if everyone took advantage of their gift to do something valuable instead of holing up in a safe, comfortable home, scared to take chances.
It almost sounds like a superhero story: combining forces to use power for good. Maybe those comics aren't so childish after all. Maybe those taxi cab drivers have some great ideas. Maybe we are capable than a lot more than we believe ourselves to be. How will we know if we don't try?
For more columns, read the May 3 article, DV school paves way for opportunities.