Reporting Can Change the World

How I Knew Journalism Was the Field for Me | ShellyRawlings.com

Hey there! This was one of my first ever posts on my blog, but I’m keeping it live for archiving purposes. Keep reading to hear what I thought about this topic on April 14, 2016, or click here to browse my more recent posts.

Reporting can change the world.

…or so says the Newseum, a museum showing the triumphs (and pitfalls) of the journalism industry, from print papers to photos, with the goal of defending the First Amendment (notably, freedom of press) across the country and around the world.

I recently visited this D.C. museum with my boyfriend, and, needless to say, my trip was one to remember.

I’m relatively new to the field of journalism. I didn’t explore the industry in high school, or even consider it as a major until halfway through my freshman year of college. The decision to completely change career paths was a huge (and scary) one for me, and, at times, I had second thoughts.

That all changed after my trip to the Newseum.

I looked at the section of the Berlin Wall in awe, snapped some shots of the First Amendment Freedoms exhibit, and of course, stopped to see the History of News 4D film. They were all cool exhibits, but my takeaway really came from the short clip on the reporters of 9/11, the cars patterned with bullets, and the journalist memorial wall.

9/11 still makes me emotional — even though I was only almost-4 years old when it happened, and I didn’t know anyone who perished on that dreadful day. I’d always thought of the police officers, the firemen, and, of course, the people in the buildings and on the planes — the ones who gave everything and even the survivors. But never had it crossed my mind to think about the reporters.

I watched the short film of the journalists’ memories, and I think my boyfriend would tell you that I was teary-eyed (although I think I was just very focused). They were running toward the wreckage, some right into a tumbling building, to get the shot — to share with the country and the world what was happening — to record history as it happened. How else would we so vividly remember the fallen? And how would our understanding of the attack have changed if the journalists hadn’t gotten the entire incident on video?



Journalists don’t just run toward burning buildings, as the Newseum makes clear. They venture through war zones and take on stray bullets. They put their lives at risk, in some countries, just by doing the job they love. As I looked up at the Newseum’s wall of photos of journalists who have died on the job, I realized the seriousness of my chosen profession.

I realized that the field of journalism isn’t about coming up with the latest hot take. It’s not about busy newsrooms with doughnuts and coffee. It’s about the action — it’s about recording history, whatever the cost. It’s dangerous, it’s necessary, and it’s exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life.

What’s your dream job? Share your story with me in the comments below!

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