I am not going to work at a newspaper forever. I suppose no one’s going to do anything forever, but what I mean is being a reporter won’t take up all of my career. Someday, I’m going to be a teacher.
I’m choosing education for the same reason I chose journalism. They are both roles that allow reading, writing and life-long learning. Of course, they’re very different, too.
In my current role, I talk to new people every week. I go to events. I know what’s happening before 90 percent of the rest of the population—and I’ll admit I’ve always loved being the first to know. In a classroom someday, things will slow down. I’m hopeful I’ll develop meaningful relationships with young people. I’ll only know the day’s events that I can tell from outside a window and I’ll likely have to time my trips to the bathroom around a bell schedule.
The world of journalism is appealing, because it can be so exciting. The world of education has more routine, and the excitement comes over time in watching students grow into mature young adults.
I look forward to that part of my career, but for now, I enjoy the lessons I’m able to teach kids today.
I’m in the schools a lot, hearing students’ stories. As a weirdo who thinks a tiny piece of her heart never left Willard High’s hallways, I love being in school buildings. I love getting to interview students. No offense to the many professionals, city officials, or other community members I work with, but students are my favorite.
Sometimes, they’re very sure of themselves. They eloquently recite the information that’s important to them and that they know will be important to what I’m working on. Other times, they’re shy, but my interest in their effort or success tends to get them rolling.
Always—if I ask the right questions, anyway—Christian County students are eager. They’re hungry and passionate and ready to explore the world. Their beliefs and ideas—their many, many thoughts—spill from their mouths, and I don’t even try to keep up, a recording device always at the ready. They want to tell me everything. In them doing so, I feel like they trust me. That feels good.
What doesn’t feel good is the reputation the media faces in today’s climate. For many reporters, it can be hard to go to work in the morning for an industry based on telling the truth when it feels like the entire world doesn’t, well, think you’re trustworthy.
I understand why people feel the way they do. Still, I hope it’s not too late for the younger ones among us. What do they think? Sometimes, before or after interviewing a student, I wonder if I fit their idea of what a journalist looks like. What do they think a reporter does? Do they know what the industry stands for?
I take pride in setting an example of how a journalist should talk, think and act. Because I understand today’s students see enough to know we don’t have the most sparkly reputation, I hope I can help them see I’m not a bad guy. I’m interested in their stories. I love the truth—“the tea,” as they call it these days.
Someday, I’ll continue to support the world of journalism by proudly keeping newspapers in my classroom. I’ll ask students about current events. I’ll ask them what they think, if they believe the information was presented in the right way, how one article compares to another and more. I admire the teachers who are already doing the same, thanks in part to our Newspapers in Education program. I look forward to joining them.
Until then, I’m enjoying where I’m at now and will give students the best lesson in journalism I can by being interested enough to ask them questions, hear them and share their words.
Sydni Moore is the associate editor of the Christian County Headliner News. She is presently working on a master's degree at Missouri State University.