We live in a world that focuses heavily on science, math and technology. When asked what kind of career they want to go in to, most young people say the health sciences, engineering or technology fields. Very few say they want to go into a field in the humanities, and even fewer say they want to go into writing.
I am a part of that small population.
Monday, I had the opportunity to get coffee with Maria Karagianis, an experienced professional journalist who wrote for the Boston Globe at the beginning of her career. What Maria has done throughout her career and life, reporting on social justice issues throughout the country and around the world, is what I’ve dreamed of doing since I was in high school. But that is beside the point.
During our conversation, Maria kept telling me that the world needs writers, and to not get too discouraged by the fact that there are very few out there. This really resonated with me, and I’ve found comfort and solace in the truth it holds.
Writers are storytellers and communicators. We have the ability to tell stories – important stories – in a way they couldn’t be told otherwise. Writers take everyday people and things that happen, whether on a local, national or international scale, and turn them into a story that captivates readers and incites change.
It’s no secret that print journalism is changing. Notice how I didn’t say dying. Print journalism isn’t dying; no, something like that could never die. It is simply changing with the times, just as everything in history has done.
We have different technology now than we did in the 1960s. Everything is instant, and people can receive information 24/7. Print journalism is adjusting to the times, and with that comes some mistakes. Adjusting to change takes time, and just because journalism isn’t how it used to be doesn’t mean it’s bad or dying. This technology that we have isn’t the end of the world; it’s simply the beginning of a new one.
Though print journalism is moving online, we still need writers. Writing is the foundation of how we communicate with each other. How else could we tell stories that make an impact? Nobody possesses the power to tell stories as viscerally as writers do.
We are the only ones who have the power to take simple words and turn them into living, breathing art. We are the ones who can change the world with a simple 1,500-word article or 300-page book.
Sure, not many people are interested in print journalism (or writing books, for that matter), and people may argue that journalists don’t make as much money as, say, doctors do, but I don’t care. I’ll still be making money, no matter where I end up. And, the difference I can make in a person’s life by taking the time to tell their story and do it justice far outweighs any salary, to me.
The times may change, but people still need news. They still need stories to read, and they still need their stories told. They still need poetry that moves them, books that let them know they’re not alone and stories about changemakers and everyday people doing extraordinary things.
Writing is never going to go out of style, and that’s incredibly comforting to me.