I didn’t choose my career based on how much money it will make me.
As a journalist, my sole purpose is to serve my community; in this country, to serve a democracy and contribute to the fourth estate. I chose this career path because I really do love reporting, but I also love being a part of something bigger than myself. I know, it’s cheesy. But it’s true.
I am aware of the industry's tumultuous tendencies. It is changing every day (not dying, just changing), and I have no idea what the future of my career holds after I graduate in May. I am not sure how much money I will make or how important my title will be.
I do know, however, that what I do will matter. The press matters, maybe now more than ever. I have believed this since I had my first byline as a high school sophomore, and I have witnessed it as the editor-in-chief of The Daily Nebraskan, in a year where student journalists have been tasked daily with holding college administrators accountable.
It is not always an easy job, but not because of the long hours or the uncertainty or the pay. It is difficult because I am choosing journalism in a time where many people have no respect for journalists. More than that, some people truly hate journalists. And sometimes, people want us dead.
I am starting to think that since the press does not have the power that comes with money, we don’t have the esteem that comes with power. But what about the esteem that comes with selfless devotion to the cause? Journalists have been tear gassed and arrested for the sake of a story. They have been captured and killed for doing their jobs.
Everyone knows journalists aren’t taking risks for the money, but no one seems to realize we’re taking risks for them. The press exists to paint the biggest, clearest picture we possibly can for you. I, personally, see my job as giving you all the information you need to make an independent, educated decision.
We try our hardest to be unbiased and factual. There are humans behind all of these bylines, so we do make mistakes. But a majority of the time, we are giving you the truth, and all of the time, we are fighting for the truth.
If you are struggling to believe me, I truly get it. In the world we live in, anyone can pull out their phone and do “journalism.” Fake news is rampant and untrained people are spreading information like wildfire.
But that is not most of us. There are many types of media, only some of which are journalism, and not all sources claiming to be journalistic are ethical and sound — just like not all politicians are clean and not all sushi is safe to eat.
There is error everywhere, and trust is hard. I don’t have all the answers. But I can tell you that there are people fighting for their jobs — or lives — every day to bring you the information needed to exist in this democracy. They do it with diligence and a smile.
All I ask is that you don’t want to murder us for doing so.
A concerned editor and soon-to-be college graduate