Learning the ins, outs and importance of journalism

(Editor’s Note: Viewpoint submissions on this and other topics are always welcome as part of our goal to encourage community discussion and exchange of perspectives.)

Journalism is something that everyone knows. But few understand just how important journalism is in connecting people, creating a sense of community and providing information so that community members can make informed decisions.

Those are just three examples of how important journalism is. Yet, I never would have considered some of them if it wasn’t for the opportunity to job shadow Ned Hickson at the Cottage Grove Sentinel. This opportunity showed me new sides of journalism and the newspaper.

I learned through my experience at The Sentinel how much effort is put into putting out a newspaper every week. It isn’t a 9-to-5 type of job — it is a work-in-the-moment type of job.

I personally found this important because it always keeps the job fresh and keeps people on their toes, ready for anything. Most of all, it makes the job more interesting because anything could happen — and you must be prepared for anything.

Something else I learned was how important personal character is in journalism. We all are humans, and we all make mistakes. It’s impossible not to. But being able to realize and correct your mistake — and not take it super personally — is important.

It shows how our local journalists not only want to get the information out to the public, but also ensure it’s correct. And when it isn’t, admitting it and correcting it is just as important to them.

That commitment creates a bond; a community of trust.

Lastly, I was able to learn that it is a worthwhile pursuit. That’s because, with this type of job, you impact the community directly and are a key source of information. You are helping people stay informed, and that helps others in the community. These and many more are the reasons I feel journalism is beyond important, and why I have personally chosen to study it in college.

It provides a way to connect with the community and gives people a way to help others. But without the opportunity I was given at The Sentinel, I wouldn’t have truly known how important a community newspaper and journalism truly are.