This Student Press Freedom Day, honor others with truth
It wasn’t until eight years after my dad passed away that I searched for his name online. I devoured every facet of his life within photographs and letters, yet I had never typed his name into the keyboard of a computer. Perhaps the rapidity of modern storytelling overwhelmed me. I clicked and his name appeared: “Randy Geller,businessman who championed downtown St. Paul, dies at 45.” The story was truthful. Suddenly, I felt pride in being related to a man who was written about in the news. I commemorated the journalist who documented my father in an honest light.
Journalism, a field I have committed myself to for the past four years, emboldened my quest for the truth. Was my father a champion? Did he promote the city?
The questions I ask myself form my ideation of sharing stories. I fell in love with journalism because of its community service. Stories highlight the life and spirit of a community, just as one journalist pinpointed my father’s brightness within the cascade of darkness following his death.
Although the story was not published in a student-run publication, its accuracy planted the seeds for my love of press freedom, which has carried over into my school life as Director of RubicOnline. To be blunt, student press freedom has allowed me to have an uncensored experience in documenting the stories within my school and the greater community.
Journalism has already given me opportunities I had never fathomed. I never understood the importance of making meaningful connections, and even further, conveying those connections to a greater public. Interviewing, reporting and composing written works and multimedia packages require more than just writing or editing skills. It commands unwavering empathy and honesty.
The realm of high school journalism offers me a universe of unknowns. It thrusts me into situations with people I have never previously met. I am privileged to tell an individual’s stories, struggles, identities, cultures, strengths, and weaknesses. This sphere of journalism expanded and continues to expand my world. It gives me discipline. Free press perpetuates free will and opens my mind to those who may not always be listened to. It gives me the capacity to tell the truth freely.
I am wistful for a time when I can inspire another student to write stories with freedom. I have realized that humans tell stories in order to live and find joy in living. And living is what my father enjoyed. So to honor him, I will record the lives he cannot touch.