As a child I wanted to do two things; become an astronaut and change the world. Naivety kept my head in the stars. As I am about to move into my final year studying Journalism at Sheffield Hallam University, I don’t think NASA will be knocking on my door anytime soon. Whilst one wish may remain quite literally out of this world, I find myself in a position to actually change the world. To understand this, you must first know that I believe words to be the most powerful weapon a person can have. Journalists find themselves in a position of power, due to the fact that they can reach a wide audiences of society with words alone. It doesn’t matter if they are telling hard news, soft news or giving their own personal opinions; journalists have the ability to stir up emotion, thoughts and opinions in large numbers of people at once. When a person calls themselves a ‘journalist’ they are telling society that their words carry weight and they should be listened to. It is with this in mind that I have the potential to achieve the ambition of my childhood. Every day as a society we wake up to countless news stories and we are led to believe that this is a clear picture of the world. However, in a lot of cases we are only told of normative individuals: those who are seen as ‘normal’ members of society in many areas including mental health, gender, sexuality and race. The only time we seem to hear stories in the news about anyone else other than the normative is when there is opportunity to generate stigma around them. This is how I can save the world. By being a journalist and using my position of power to give a voice to those who may not get their voices heard otherwise.
“News is what someone wants suppressed. Everything else is advertising. The power is to set the agenda. What we print and what we don’t print matter a lot.” – Katharine Graham