The experience I have been a part of in Mountain Vista Media (MVM) the past three years has been the most fulfilling, engaging, and challenging part of my life as a high school student and journalist. I have been granted the opportunity to cover the most powerful events in my community, the ones that really matter, and in turn provided the same opportunities to each and every member of the MVM staff. In the span of time I have worked on compiling my best and most meaningful work from these years for my portfolio, I have learned not only lessons about myself but also about what it truly means to be a journalist.
My story started in the journalism room. Every single one of my years as a part of the program has been extraordinarily impactful to me, and every “EP!C” experience I have participated in has taught me vital lessons about what it means to uphold the freedom of the press, but also what it means to work as a part of a powerful team of people. The time that I have spent with my peers in the program is some of the most valuable time I have spent in high school, and each interview, shutter snap, keystroke and mouse drag blurs together in my mind in a gradual accumulation of knowledge, confidence, and ability that make me the journalist and leader I am today.
One of the most important things I learned about the storytelling process is that I have the power to make a difference in the community by providing the same power to others through my work. Seeking out the students at my school that aren’t often recognized but have a unique story allows them to speak up for what they believe in and wield a positive influence with their words. The time that I took to write about people like Emma Campbell and her quiet belief in fearlessness directed every member of our audience to reflect on the story and recognize the value in her ideas. All Campbell did was share an editorial in her English class when no other student was brave enough to, but this small act hid a remarkable impact. By placing her powerful courageousness on a public platform, I encouraged others to become less fearful and to speak out for what they believed in and become afraid, not of the consequences of telling their story, but of remaining silent. A public that is silenced in the modern age is one that has lost sight of its freedoms under the First Amendment, and it would indicate that I, as a journalist, failed to uphold my responsibility to educate my community and give it a voice.
Furthermore, I have been both honored and humbled to serve as a part of the program that the student body looked to for information about significant events as well as a constant feed of updates regarding every aspect of the school, from clubs to sports to major activities. Being trusted by the students to report verified information about public events, commonly those at the school but also those directly impacting the entire community, meant that we as a program were also accountable for any mistaken information or ethical issues. It was so meaningful to take part in something that was actually in the balance, something that was succeeding, failing, and learning in reality rather than in a classroom.
No aspect of the program was more important, however, than the people I got to spend every morning and afternoon with. We did the succeeding, and the failing, together as a staff every step of the way, and we consistently pushed each other to improve along the way. I can say with certainty that the person I am today has been shaped strongly by the people I have worked with in MVM, along with my passion as I journalist. With this group of people, I challenged myself to try new things and take risks, and I made memories and friendships that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Without hesitation, I would sacrifice almost anything for this program and every person in it. I love the people I work with, and I love what I do.
Every person who found, and continues to find, meaning in my stories or learns from my reporting, even if it is just one reader at a time, makes equally as much of an impact on me as I leave on them. My passion is real, and I actually use it to make a difference in my school and my community with every story that I write. Creating this portfolio unified each of my strengths, reminded me of all of my values as a journalist and leader and most of all made me grateful that my own story led me to MVM and journalism.
I am so grateful for this opportunity to share the work that has made such a large impact on my character, passion and future. Thank you for the time you have taken to view my portfolio.