Journalism under a toxic presidency

    Being in college is a stressful time for most people — exams, becoming an adult, leaving home and finding your career path are all struggles in themselves. For me, there is also the added obstacles of discovering my sexual identity, figuring out my political views and making the choice to become a professional in mass media.

    What I didn’t factor into the mix was trying to overcome these during the uprising of a Trump presidency.

    When I first arrived at school, I was overwhelmed with all of the amazing possibilities that were available to me. I was raised in a primarily Republican household and now I was being unleashed into a world where my views were part of the majority rather than swept aside as “teenage rebellion,” and I was interacting with people my own age who came from very diverse backgrounds.

    For the first two years, college was a dream. I realized that I wanted to become a writer and hoped to make a difference with hard-hitting stories and honest journalism. I was confident that words could inspire change and that people’s stories deserved to be heard.

    However, when I became an upperclassman, my professors began to preach warnings about the dangers that lie ahead for mass-media professionals. They weren’t talking about the decline of print news or radio. They were spouting new terms like “fake news” and “alternative facts.” They warned us that under this new presidency, our futures would be much rockier than we may have hoped.

    This was just months ago, and each day since then journalists have faced more and more accusations of unethical and deceptive practices. As an LGBT+ student journalist, these attacks on our community frighten me. I now not only worry that I will be attacked and ridiculed for my orientation, but for my career as well.

    I don’t want to run away from the career I’ve been working for, and I won’t stop telling the stories that need to be heard. Many people in our nation have opposing ideas about what equality really means, and it’s the job of the media to bring the transparent truth to these ideas. We cannot all have the same views or beliefs, but we can be smart enough to research how we receive our information and kind enough to coexist without violence.

    Many people have said that when a dangerous government is rising, the first people they will silence are the media. I say, it’s our job not to let this happen. Share your story and speak out for those who cannot. We will not be silenced for who we are, and we will not be silent about what we stand for in our America.