A very long time ago, I read an article in Rolling Stone about Liberia and thought to myself “I have to do something.” That was when I first realized the true power of words and decided I wanted to be a journalist. `Now, despite all of the issues facing the world and criticism of mainstream media, I still think journalism can help, but we have to be creative. This is something media and the environment made me realize.
No longer can we get the public concerned by simply writing an article about the pork industry. We have to interact with the issue and see it from all sides. We have to collaborate with the public, not just preach to it. Working with the Douglas County Food Policy Council was a great opportunity, in that we were able to discuss the needs of the community with a diverse group of people who really cared, not just talk about the various issues affecting our society in the classroom. This allowed us to see how various solutions can be applied and put human faces behind the issue of food justice.
While doing research for my weekly blog posts, I’d come across fact after fact telling me the world is going to hell and taking us with it.
When so many things seem to be working against us, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, fatalistic and cynical. I know I can get that way sometimes, as there’s always a little voice in my head asking “what’s the point if our doom is already set in place?” While this class certainly opened my eyes to the severity of the issues facing food justice, it was also a source of hope. Every Tuesday, a group of students would meet to talk about the problems with food and how we can face them. We were only one small part of a much bigger discussion, and that makes me so optimistic. As my favorite late night talk show host said on his last night of the Tonight Show, “I hate cynicism — it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere… But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”
Now, nearly two months away from receiving my bachelors of science in journalism and mass communications, I think this sentiment reflects the most important thing I learned in class. As a journalist, I cannot stoop to cynicism. I have to continue to work hard for causes I believe in and I have to do my best to involve everyone in this fight.
Finally, whenever someone says “be creative,” my first response is to write a poem/rap. So, here’s a rap about the class. Recite to the tune of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Now this is a poem all about how
My food got flipped, turned upside down
It’s posted on this blog so read if you care
And I’ll tell you bout how I learned our food just isn’t fair
In Wichita Kansas, born and raised
Now the newsrooms where I spend most of my days
Stauffer Flint had me actin’ like a fool
But j500 was my favorite part of school
Learning bout media what they shouldn’t do and should
and workin’ with the food in our neighborhood
we posted blogs each week and sometimes I got scared
cuz the environment is something that I really do care
But the class taught me that there’s no need to fear
and working with the DCFP made that crystal clear
If anything I could say that this class is rare
Try buyin local, organic, food traded fair
You know there’s more to food than the price or it’s taste?
We can preach it in every home, Christmas, and Seder
media, environment, a crucial pair
affecting us all, from Lawrence to Bel-Air.
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