Back in 2013, I was a seventh grader who took a trip to Washington, D.C. for a family wedding. In the midst of a government shutdown, we decided to go to a National Geographic Museum. It was one of the only museums open at that point. It was then that my interest in journalism sparked. I longed for the adventure, the scenery, the photos. The exhibit I visited, “Women of Vision,” inspired me to follow in the footsteps of women who came before me.
As I grew older, when the phases of writing fake news stories for my siblings and longing to be an “old fashioned” journalist at a typewriter ended, the dream was still growing with me. But this time, I had researched newspapers like the New York Times and wanted more than adventure and pretty photos. I longed to tell people the truth. During my “angsty teen years,” I became aware of how much was going on in the world. I was angry that there were so many wrongs happening. I became interested in documentaries, and was fascinated by people who investigated and held corporations accountable.
By the time I graduated from high school in 2018, I was sure that I wanted to go to school for journalism. Many people assumed this meant that I wanted to cover politics, or, on the complete opposite end, I wanted to cover celebrities and the lives of the famous. It surprised many people when I told them that I just wanted to be someone that amplified the voices that needed to be heard. I actually had people tell me that I would never make it anywhere as a journalist or I would actually be silencing people’s voices and I’d never get to write on actual truth. I was nervous of course, but stubborn.
I attended Bethel University with a major in journalism. During my time at Bethel, my love for journalism was up and down. I went through tests where sources never responded, I became burned out, and I suddenly had a schedule where I was trying to be available for others 24/7. But I also was able to see first-hand what stories did.
In my sophomore year of college, I interviewed a mother in St. Paul who lost her son to gun violence. At the end of the meeting, she thanked me and the other reporters who came because it was one of the only times she had been able to fully talk about how exactly she felt, and she wanted to put faces to numbers, so that more people would advocate for change. The summer before my junior year of college, I interned for TMC Publications and covered stories about the pandemic, George Floyd’s death, and the Uprising. I wrote articles on helping children through trauma, clinics in need of PPE supplies during COVID-19 and how Maxfield Elementary addressed racism with their students.
It was then that I started to fully appreciate community journalism. I saw a community that cared deeply about one another; a community that was banding together in order to help each other through difficult times. In my junior year at Bethel, I took a class specifically on community journalism and how different it was than national news or reporting in general. It was then that I decided I wanted to serve a more local community after college if I could and get to know its members. I graduated this May as the only senior with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
Outside of journalism, I love to read, hammock, go on walks, and try new foods. I’m very into mystery and thriller books currently, but I also like a good romantic comedy mixed in there occasionally. I have a German Shepherd called Smokey, named after the bear, and enjoy taking him on walks and sometimes swims. I also enjoy writing “snail mail” to family and friends, and it was one of the ways I kept in touch during the pandemic other than online. I am also in the process of planning my wedding, which will happen in the middle of July.
As the editor of the Southwest Connector, I hope to implement more of a connection with the community as we continue. I want to take on projects that address important events and issues to the southwest Minneapolis area and make sure we are including direct community voices. I have a lot to learn about journalism and this community, but I am so excited to get to know the area and the people some more. I wholeheartedly believe in the importance of local news and am truly excited to be working with the Southwest Connector.
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