Pride and fear: What it means to be a journalist

Sept. 8, 2014

Samantha Morley
[email protected]

As a journalist, I am at risk of having my head chopped off or being hit by tear gas.

Whether for a high school, university, local or national newspaper, being a journalist is a job that should make writers both proud and scared.

I was very excited when I started as a reporter for The Scribe. I was diligent with my learning and trained myself on how to conduct interviews, pick out the necessary bits of information and bring articles to the wonderful community of UCCS.

But as I quickly adapted to my new job and topics grew more serious, I felt a twinge of apprehension at what it meant to be a reporter.

I had to get through a few personal struggles. Typically I prefer to refrain from being too nosey in someone’s business. But I had to learn to push that part of me aside in order to get to some of the nitty-gritty information from students, faculty and staff.

My motivation became that the UCCS community has the right to know what is going on. As students, we pay tremendous amounts of money to fund the university and therefore we should have knowledge of where the money is going.

By thinking this way I learned to ask the tough questions to get the necessary information. Then I transferred it to you, the students, faculty and staff of UCCS.

The events in Ferguson, Mo. and Syria, however, sparked a fear in me. Ferguson became the site of international media frenzy with the recent events that transpired between the public and police. But the police did not want their actions to be publicized. Journalists became targets, some having tear gas thrown at them. Then the police would move in and dismantle equipment.

Reporters Wesley Lowery and Ryan Reilly were forcibly removed from a McDonald’s after requesting information from police. Reilly tweeted that he requested the police officer’s name and was denied the information.

Reilly continued to do his job even when faced with physical harm. He brought information to the public about what was going on. He bravely continued to report even though something much worse could have happened to him. Something like losing his life.

Freelance reporters James Foley and Steven Sotloff were murdered in Syria. Both were beheaded by ISIS after being missing for years. They most likely would not have been in their positions if they chose a different career path.

It is both frightening and motivating to see what my future could bring me if I continue on this path.

There is a chance that I’ll remain a small-time reporter that covers simple local stories, but there is also the possibility that I’ll become notable and a threat to groups that could harm me.

Both of these realities are very possible. Both are very exciting and scary in their own way.

What I know now is that I will continue to serve the UCCS community until I graduate and no longer have a role with The Scribe. As the new Managing Editor, I will strive to push our newspaper to be a publication that students, faculty and staff fl ock to when they want to get the low-down on the campus.

I am here to provide information as best I can. Because that’s what it means to be a journalist.