Young peoples voices arent often heard, and when they are, they tend to be forgotten. I want my voice to be heard. From every corner of the world I want it to ring. What better way to be heard than to put your voice in the media through journalism? That way, you can continuously throw your opinions in peoples faces and say, How do you like them apples?
Ever since I was little, Ive searched for a way to make people hear me: shouting, singing, clapping, whistling, crying. And now, Ive found the perfect way: writing. You can write hundreds upon thousands of words, or you can write one word, and still tell a wonderful story.
The glory of writing is only made more magnificent in journalism: writing facts that are true and that you found yourself, that you researched and validated and set in stone, or simply writing a column, ranting about some random thing you find interesting or uninteresting or what have you.
As a sophomore in high school, rarely do big opportunities present themselves. My first story was about sleep cycles. Zzzzz, if you know what I mean. But my second story is where my passion developed and grew. Chimney Rock became a national monument, and I got to cover it.
That day, I was given a press packet and the greatest chances to talk to the big politicians who showed up for the event: the Salazar brothers (funny story, more on that later), Sen. Michael Bennet, and Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. All day, I was treated as a real member of the press, despite my obvious inexperience. That is what got me going. I knew that the environment I was in was the one where I wanted to spend my life.
Back to the Salazar brothers: Former Rep. John Salazar was at the Chimney Rock event. My dad had accompanied me because I needed a ride and someone to carry my purse. We took our seats and waited for the speeches and the ceremony to begin. My dad disappeared for a bit, and when I turned around looking for him, I saw Salazar approaching me. I stood up, palms sweaty and knees shaking, ready to make or break my future as a journalist. The very first thing he said to me? He laughed and asked, Why are you so nervous?
From that point on, I smiled so large you could probably see my braces from Mars. I managed to keep it together long enough to get my interviews and my photos barely. Its safe to say that was the experience of my lifetime.
That feeling I got at Chimney Rock that day was like no other. It was so good, and I had never felt it before. It was like something had clicked, and I belonged in that position at that time. I knew I wanted to stick to the journalism thing, and I knew that I had to be active in pursuing one of my many dreams. This one was prominent in my mind, so sticking with it didnt seem so hard.
At this years Four Corners Press Day, I was introduced to a whole new type of journalism: opinion writing. Remember what I said about throwing apples in peoples faces? Well, opinion writing seemed like exactly the right type of writing for someone who likes to be heard. Though Im not exactly a pro, with guidance from my teacher, Barbara McLachlan, I know I can get better. Just seeing my name on a story or a photo in El Diablo is enough. Knowing that as a young person, I can write and people will read, people will listen, is enough.
As a young journalist, I have little experience. But in the time ahead, I can see myself excelling through all sorts of opportunities with El Diablo, among other things. I think its important that the youths of our world knows how important it is to make people listen, and how easy it can be to be heard. Sometimes, its not the words you say, but how you mean them. Writing can be so much more than words on paper.
Katie Spindle is a reporter and photographer at El Diablo. She is the daughter of Jamie Spindle and Keith Smith.