Journalists: Voice Givers, Yet Voiceless

This summer is slowly coming to an end, and in a couple of days, I'll be back in Syracuse, ready to start my junior year (what?!) at college. It's crazy how time flies. What's even crazier, though, is that I haven't written a personal post in so long. I guess that's a side effect of studying journalism-- you lose yourself in the constant tirade of news, whether it be in politics (ha), war, environmental deterioration, human crises, attacks of terror. 

As journalism students, we are taught to not publically lean left or right, to not let emotions get in the way of telling a story, to not impulse-write, to hide our real views from the world. It's been one of the hardest things for me since I started going to university.

I've always been an outspoken person unafraid to share her thoughts on what was going on around her. I'd offer my opinion willingly and without worry. When I first started blogging on Wordpress years ago, I always wrote about my views on current events. Although I was still living in the bubble that surrounded me, my family, home, and school, I was unapologetically determined to get my perspective out there.

I've changed. 

Image: Annette Lillethun

Image: Annette Lillethun

I think twice, maybe three times before I tweet or share something on Facebook. I only express my views with people I trust, and very rarely do I align myself with a side when it comes to the news (and when I do share my views, I try to be as diplomatic as possible). It's a safer, less disaster-prone route. 

Being limited in what you can say is a harsh reality that comes with being a student journalist. Because I am still in school, there is still much I have to learn, and I understand why I've been taught to keep my views private. At the same time, I miss being able to write without constantly evaluating myself. 

This has been especially hard considering recent events that have taken place. As a woman of color and the daughter of first-generation immigrants, I have experienced moments of frustration, sadness and irritation at the fact that I can't simply give my thoughts shape (without suffering consequences). 

It's ironic. As journalists, we give a voice to those who can't share their story, but we lose our own in the process.