J500 Media and the Environment

A Lasting Connection by alyv

At The University of Arizona, I learned journalism basics:

What I'd lost.

What I'd lost.

•    keep intros short
•    lead with the news
•    get the names right
•    And, most importantly, always pick a personal interview over a voice on the phone.

After jumping head-first into a new school, new city, new job, I lost that golden rule of journalism. I lost what it meant to talk to someone face to face, and what that could do for the story.

This class and the service-learning project helped me find it again.

When I first learned about the farmer project, I thought it was just another crazy thing I had to add to my already overloaded schedule.

No way, I thought, would I have time to interview this farmer in Kansas City. No way could this man have anything to say that I couldn’t get over the phone.

No way would I visit his farm not once, but twice, and leave the second time promising to return this summer to help with the harvest.

Now I know better.

The personal connection I was able to make with Pov Huns stretched beyond reporting his story into coming to terms with the life I, and so many like me, are living.

People like me let their schedule rule their life. They’re always running late, always sacrificing quality of work, and life, in the crunch of time. They’re watching their life pass without having a chance to see it, afraid that pausing for too long will prevent them from moving forward.

Connect with farmers, connect with food.

Connect with farmers, connect with food.

But that’s not what happens. When you pause, when you take time to connect with people, you get to meet immigrants from Zambia and urban farmers in Kansas City. You get to see people, really see them. And you get to learn more about yourself and your world than you ever did from inside your hourglass.

This project helped me see that I shouldn’t be disconnected from anything, so I’m starting with my food. No longer will I buy green beans from the frozen section when they’re in season and grown by people I can meet and connect with.

I want to know the name of the woman who grew the tomatoes in my lasagna; I want to be able to describe the man who harvested the lemongrass in my tea. I want to connect to food, to people, to my life in ways I couldn’t see before.

Life is about connections; it has to be. And this service-learning project helped me see that.

Without the service-learning project, I would have continued chasing after that last hour, last minute, last second. But now I see there’s more to life than making deadlines, and that there’s a physical person behind the voice who has more to say than words can tell.

No way will I ever lose that again.

By AlyV


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Textbook journalism is on the way out, and your post reveals why that’s the case.

I loved your paragraph about letting your schedule rule your life, which is where the majority of America has found itself–feeling so trapped but not realizing the freedom we have when we see that the schedule can be broken.

Comment by Lauren Keith

It’s ridiculous. I don’t even write down questions anymore. I don’t have time to be a good journalist and I feel like that’s what’s plaguing the industry.

Comment by alyv

Agreed, both of you! I understand when people say they are too busy, that they’re always running around. It’s part of our lifestyle. But I think it’s important to realize that life is here and now, not where we’re going or where we came from. I love that you had such a connection with your farmer.

Comment by justinl7

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