Journalism is something that is magical. The reason I say this is because journalism depends on a collective. A group of people around a city, state, country, and even the entire world, fighting together for the same cause. Whatever that cause might be. It takes an army of individuals, soldiers even, banding together for a great cause. It makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself. No matter what changes in the world, you know you’re not alone and you can make a difference.
Since my junior year of high school, I’ve wanted to be a journalist. I’ve always been involved in journalism-related extracurriculars. I started my journey with my high school’s newspaper, the Carver Times. I really enjoyed the connections I was able to make with like-minded people, alongside the opportunity to fine-tune my voice as a student journalist. I even took Journalism as an elective that year, and it was the best decision of my life. While all these things were falling into place, what really made me start considering it as a career path was when I took part in an after school student-led newscast.
The newscast was run through Temple University’s University Community Collaborative, POPPYN. There I learned media literacy, content creation, and marketing skills for social media. The lessons I learned during my time there were invaluable. The reason POPPYN was even on my radar was that Stormy Kelsey, the director of POPPYN came to my journalism class to talk about the program. She was the one who really ignited my passion for journalism, but she showed me it could be something bigger than just an elective. I started to think about it as a possible career.
Soon after, I got to experience NBC 10 coming to my school and we got an opportunity to show them some of the work we’ve been doing in my journalism class. Before I knew it, I was selected out of my entire class to join them on their Facebook Live to discuss the issues of the low-income neighborhood I was in and the classist inequities of employment and educational opportunities. I did this alongside other up-and-coming journalists and some nonprofit organizations that work with low-income communities. I remember walking into their newsroom, and my eyes began to sparkle with curiosity, interest and overall awe of everything I was seeing. The busy journalists bumble around the room, working at their desks and having conversations. I knew this was something I wanted to find a way to be a part of.
After this, I was connected to WHYY’s “Youth Set the Stage” program during my senior year of high school. This was a similar after-school program that promoted youth voices and content creation. Throughout 2020 we ran multiple events, where we talked about topics such as Black Lives Matter, climate change, and the importance of voting. Many times we had to script, shoot, host, and facilitate these events. It allowed me to form interpersonal skills and gave me a chance to practice my public speaking. Check out one of the events we did around youth empowerment! I soon got in contact with Lisa Wilk, who was a supervisor at the time and who got me connected with the PBS Newshour Student Reporting Labs.
Because of this, the summer before entering college, I was one of the PBS Newshour Student Reporting Labs Academy fellows and was involved in a rigorous journalism boot camp, where we had to create local news stories. This was a thorough and laborious program that required us to attend workshops, work with fellow journalists, go through media bias training, and equipment training. Not only that, we had to draft, interview, script, record, and publish a hard-hitting news story all in the span of two weeks. It was the most beautifully tough experience I’ve ever had. I made mistakes, some more embarrassing than others. Through it all, I learned that despite how hard creating and producing content can be, my heart was still in it., You can find the video I did on PBSNewsHour’s YouTube.
All these opportunities were amazing, but would you believe it if I said it didn’t actually pick up until college?
Throughout my time at Arcadia, I’ve been part of the publication practicum course known as Loco Mag. I started as a freshman and now going into my junior year, it has a special place in my heart. I wrote about my feelings during freshman year when things were still new and foreign. It was my outlet and, honestly, I looked forward to seeing everyone every day. It was a laid-back, but involved, class that gave me a break from everything that was new. Especially because journalism and media creation was something familiar to me at this point. If you’re curious about some of the things I’ve written, read my piece “To Here and Back Again: The Diary of a College Kid”
Even if all the Loco Mag staff members aren’t all super duper close, there’s an understanding that we all care about the mag and each other. We want nothing more than to see each other succeed. We want to be able to support any of our fellow members in being the best content creators they can be, no matter what kind of media they’re producing. Now I’m Loco Mag’s PR person, of course, coupled with continuing to write for any of the issues we publish. It’s an amazing feeling, and if you ever want to be a part of Loco Mag, you should join CM120. We’re always looking for new faces each semester. Even if you don’t join the class, we’re always asking for submissions for our issues. Check us out at locomag.com.
As for my sophomore year, I soon became a Because Arcadia blogger, and I couldn’t be more honored that I have the opportunity to highlight my institution. I love being able to showcase my work on Arcadia University’s website. I was even featured on Montco.today, which was an amazing honor. Not to mention, my mom loves seeing my blogs go onto the site, and I love that I can show my family my work.
This past summer I was able to work at POPPYN, and it was amazing. I was able to teach students media production, and helped support students in creating pieces about anything they wanted! Being an undergraduate in Media and Communications, it gave me the opportunity to teach what I know, and even learn from the students themselves. I ended up helping one group of students create a piece about climate change, and it was a holistic experience watching students sitting where I used to sit. It made me realize that not only creating media was fun, but teaching it wasn’t half bad either.
POPPYN was how I got my start, and being able to work for this organization was beyond a dream come true. When I was in the program in High School, there were so many faculty members, including Stormy, at the time that made coming to the program memorable and worthwhile. I hope I was able to create something similar for the students I taught because I cared about each and every one of them in ways I never thought possible. The last day of the summer programming was a sad one, as it was a lot of fun seeing them every day and creating things we were all passionate about. Though, all the memories I shared will carry on with me always. If all goes well, I’ll be back with them next summer!
Everything I was doing was for fun, or because I cared. When I started this journey, I had no idea I was creating a future career for myself. I was simply taking part in the things I thought were worth talking about, highlighting, and showcasing. Though media creation is more than just writing and editing, like I said, it’s magical. Now I can officially call myself a journalist. I’m grateful to still be able to have the platforms to discuss the things that matter to me, and I hope to move forward with integrity and passion in my heart. Also, if I get more opportunities to teach the next generation of media creators while I’m at it, that wouldn’t be half bad either.