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Mount Creative Writers

A picture is worth more than a thousand words

Alexandra Tyminski
MSM Class of 2015

(6/2014) When I was asked to babysit for a neighbor of mine, I couldnít help but hesitate.

"Uh, well Iím not so sure about that. I think I have to check my calendar first. I might be busy. I will get back to you," I said.

As I was looking through my calendar and realized I didnít have anything going on that week besides schoolwork, my internal conscience began tugging on my heart.

"You really should help Mrs. Baker out. She is having a hard time balancing work and family. You can take one night off and help watch Cassie."

My conscience won, and there I was on Thursday night watching little five-year-old Cassie. She was a cute little girl with short blonde curly hair, blue eyes, and one small freckle on the tip of her nose. She loved to paint until her hands were every color of the rainbow. Her ears were sometimes blue, her left cheek sometimes green while her right cheek was orange. You might have even mistaken her for a redhead because sometimes the tips of her baby hairs would be as red as an apple. When I asked Cassie what she was painting, she told me something I will never forget.

"Iím painting a picture for the world to see."

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In April, I attended a trip with a few classmates and a professor to visit the Voice of America Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Voice of America is the largest U.S. International Broadcaster, broadcasting in 45 different languages with an audience of 164 million weekly. We were given tours of the studios and the VOA headquarters, and we met with VOAís Executive Editor, Steve Redisch.

When we left Washington and came back to the smaller town of Emmitsburg, I was bursting with happiness. The little Cassie inside of me was reminded why I love journalism so much and what it strives to teach the world. Just like Cassie, I too am painting a picture for the world to see.

According to Warren Buffet, "The smarter the journalists are, the better off society is. For to a degree, people read the press to inform themselvesóand the better the teacher, the better the student body." Some people, not all, may doubt that there are writers who strive to deliver true facts and good writing to their readers. Is that true? Is there a thing as the art of journalism? Does objective journalism even exist anymore? What is journalism?

Iím not sure I can answer these questions in one article, but I do believe that journalism is many things. It is first and foremost an art. It is an art that brings alive the true facts about everyday events in society. It allows men and women in diverse parts of the world to make informed decisions. Journalism is an ethical practice of providing trustworthy information. Arianna Huffington, the president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, said, "Journalism is meant to give people a true sense of their world, so they can participate and have a voice in how their world is structured."

Todayís news can be structured in a way that combines news and entertainment to make "edutainment." This only becomes a stamp of disloyalty to the public, and I believe this is where most of the doubt in journalism comes from. I used to think that you could only believe news if it was something that you agreed with, but I have learned that the goal of journalism isnít to agree with you, it is to make you informed. We then take this information, form our opinions, and ultimately make decisions around what we believe.

Journalism is responsible. People may not realize how much accountability journalism holds. Accountability is not just for world leaders, but also for day-to-day citizens like you and me. Journalists expose, inform, and write stories about anyone and anything that happens. This is to show the world the truth; the truth about people, places, and events. What is truth? This brings me to my next understanding of journalism.

Journalism is different in every part of the world. This is the most important definition I have ever learned. Thank you to my professor from Global Journalism for showing me perspectives of journalism that I can now share with you. We studied a book called The World News Prism by William A. Hatchen and James F. Scott. They both stress the importance of an improved global news media, which is one that recognizes that not every part of the world adapts the same definition of journalism. All lenses are different. All nations are different. All people are different.

Another professor of mine once told me that she could not wait to retire because then she could sit down for the whole day and read the entire newspaper from front to back. When our class laughed at her, she told us that journalism was also education. Over the years, my participation in this newspaper and my communications classes at the Mount has educated me on how journalism educates society. When people are educated, they have a voice, a voice that allows them to speak up and to make decisions. Journalism gives society a foundation on which to build further education. It is a helpful and useful occupation for all of society.

When I first started writing for the Emmitsburg News-Journal, I questioned how my creative writing could be seen as helpful to those who read it. The more I wrote, the more I understood. Creative writing is presenting stories or topics in a way that makes the reader creatively think about the issue. As I pondered over this thought, I saw that the goal of writing might be to inform an audience about something to bring them somewhere they have never been.

The Emmitsburg News-Journal paints a picture for everyone to read. From every lense and every angle, one small town newspaper delivers the quality that every reader deserves. It brings people to places they can only go to by reading the art plastered on the page in front of them. A news story could connect a reader across the world to the people in Africa or Asia. A creative story may bring people to a place they can imagine or bring back memories once forgotten. Commentaries force the reader to think about otherís opinions and learn from them. This can lead to a place of disagreement or agreement, but whatever the place is, the reader will be discussing it over a cup of coffee. Political sections bring readers to a board room with a politician while a gardening column brings us to someoneís backyard with beautiful sunflowers and gardening tools. Each one of these writers is conveying a message. They are painting a picture.

Since I am a business major, you may be wondering why journalism intrigues me so much. I believe that business and journalism, when done correctly, could together be profitable and a service to society. Together, they can make a beautiful piece of artwork. As a journalist, I write creative articles or topics of interest that I believe readers should think about. However, I know that all writers wish to inform their audience about something of importance.

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Cassie was always painting something for the world to see. Each and every day, journalists and writers paint a new story for us to read. Some of those paintings take longer to read, while others are absorbed just by reading the bolded headlines. Journalists everywhere sacrifice their lives to bring us their best pieces of artwork. Some of the art may take more time to compile than others. Many of these artists get very tired, but they always deliver a masterpiece. They give you something that no other artist can give you: reality. Maybe reality is truth. And maybe truth in journalism means the reality from where you are. From where Iím sitting to your kitchen table and to your neighborís front porch. Journalism is a way of revealing the reality of challenges and opportunities that present themselves to the world. This is a service to society. When we wake up every morning and reach for our paper, the encounters we have with so many journalists are numerous. The things we learn are infinite, and the world is a better place because of our journalists.

I hope that you can see the meaning behind the words of every article. I hope you will see that journalism is not just a business; it is an art. So I ask, what do you see as the main point in my picture?

Read other articles by Alexandra Tyminski