This one very long quote from Tomas Alex Tizon, a former employee of the Seattle Times, sums up every feeling I have about why I chose journalism.
“Thank God for stories– for those who have them, for those who tell them, for those who devour them as the soul sustenance that they are. Stories give shape to experience and allow us to go through life unblind. Without them, everything that happens would float around, undifferentiated. None of it would mean anything. Once you have a version of what happened, all the other good stuff about being human comes into play. You can laugh, feel awe, commit a passionate act, get pissed, want to change things.
My answer to wanting to enter journalism has always been simply to teach. I believe that all people, anywhere in the world have an innate desire to learn. While we may not all wish to learn the same things or learn from the same sources, everyone has the urge to learn and share information.
It’s that feeling we get when we overhear a conversation on the bus and tune in to see what complete strangers are talking about. People all get the same emotional rush when they have good news to share with their family or friends. We all feel the same empty pit in our stomachs when we don’t know how we did on a test or presentation.
Because all people can feel a certain way about information, I have always imagined being able to say that it was my job to package that information in a way that could make a difference. Whether it be putting people at ease over the latest state budget agreements or inspiring a revolution through my words or writing.
The reason I want to be a foreign correspondent is simple: I want to learn too. As much as I have this burning passion to teach/inform, I want to be able to say that I also was able to learn from the people I have been around. I want to learn how to cook like the women in Ivory Coast or how to build like the Amish in Southern Pennsylvania. Like Gay Talese’s father, I want to have a greater appreciation for the perfect buttonhole. I want to learn things that you can’t get from just asking questions but, skills or a sense of understanding you can only obtain through experience.
One day, I aspire to be like Talese; a reporter who kickstarted the new era of “cinematic journalism.” And even if I’m not remembered or heralded as a man who changed the face of foreign reporting, I would absolutely love my work. It is the most delightful career path I could ever imagine.