For as long as I can remember, I’ve sat down every Sunday evening with my family to watch 60 Minutes on CBS. Through their investigative reporting, I’ve learned the power of broadcast journalism and the importance of shaping a narrative accurately.
Over the past four years as a student journalist, I have stayed up to date on local, national and international issues. As a freelance reporter for The Villager, a local paper that sits near my high school, I have been able to engage with my community both inside and outside of school. I read online publications, local print papers, and magazines and I always look forward to watching a nightly news program after school.
Although I seek balance when researching a news article, I am not immune to bias. I’m easily drawn towards articles with compelling visuals and interactive story elements. In addition to stunning visuals, I am intrigued by a story with a local angle that can inspire story assignments for our staff. To combat my bias, I strive to read articles about an event from multiple sources, and if the news affects our school community, I like to bring it up in class with the entire publication staff.
My passion for fighting against our innate news biases extends to my leadership. I check sources that are hyperlinked in our articles, fact check my own work as well as others and assign stories that bring a new angle to a topic we may have already covered. An example of this was when I wrote a story about how Instagram subversively entices young people to commercialize their life. This angle is different since our publication typically covers the appeal of social media such as Instagram as we have written about how students create fake accounts or student groups who create accounts for their organization. I fact checked my article with eight sources and worked with another student to get the article up on the site. This story was just one example of my work to nuance a relevant topic in our community and include an array of diverse sources to justify my information.
Lastly, another mechanism my staff and I use comes from recording our interviews. After recording an interview, it is our responsibility to transcribe the conversation with our interviewee and include the quotes that we deem relevant. That means our school community has a great deal of faith in us, student journalists, to shape our stories accurately and without bias. As I continue to pursue a career in journalism, I will continue to work towards shaping my stories without bias and to fact check other stories.
Above is a photo of me this past summer when my first article was published on the front cover of The Villager.