The folllowing link leads to an article I wrote about the next music festival I’ll be covering. If you haven’t already, check out my coverage on Okeechobee Music Festival and Ultra Music Festival….It’s been quite a year!
From March 3 to 5, I was granted the opportunity of attending Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival as a reporter for the Miami Herald. I wrote two pieces on the event, each with their own set of photographs. The first is very news-oriented while the second is a personal account…. Next up? Miami Ultra Music Festival!
There is nothing that keeps me awake at night more than words. Because of them, I toss and turn ceaselessly, hoping not to disturb my mom as she snores softly beside me. I try to stop the words from flashing through my mind as they build phrases then sentences then paragraphs until, finally, I give in. The words don’t stop unless they become something I can’t wait to put on paper.
“I’ll write this in my next article,” I think to myself. “Maybe, just maybe, I can make a difference.”
And that’s what I can do with words. Every day I walk into my journalism class, though I am exhausted by the strings of words that kept me awake the night before, I choose to use them for good. Some people find freedom speeding down the highway at midnight, but I find freedom in my writing. What I cannot say, I know I can write. I use that freedom not only to express my innermost thoughts but to try and move the people in my community to make a difference in their lives and in the lives of others.
Whether I’m writing about teenage homelessness in South Florida or the endless bloodshed in Syria, I find great satisfaction in keeping the students of my school and the local community educated about issues going on in the world. Creating conversation excites me. It moves me to write even more, seeking to find local stories in the globality of my writing and, vice versa, scavenging ways to make my local stories more global.
I spend most nights sitting in front of my computer screen, fussing over comma splices and fragmented sentences because I want my message to come across eloquently; I work hard so that my readers can indulge sentence after sentence without interruption as I immerse them across seas and into the battlefields where the greatest violations of human rights occur. Then I shift them back into reality, showing them that there is something that can be done, something that they, themselves, can do.
And so, as my mom sleeps quietly beside me, I rise from our bed and pick up my laptop. I sit in the bathtub so that the click-clack of the keys do not wake her and I turn down the harsh glare of the brightness to a soft glow. I allow my thoughts to take hold of my fingers and I type away into the night where the world unfolds before me, beckoning to be put in words.
By Edysmar Diaz-Cruz & Daniela Morales
As editors of Miami Lakes Educational Center’s student paper, the Harbinger, we pride ourselves in leading a newsroom comprised of young minds, young talent, and young voices. We may be high schoolers, but we know what it takes to publish authentic news when the student body needs to hear it most. We share the stories that take place within our school, we analyze the politics in our local community, and we are well aware of the struggles facing journalists of the future.
Today I was a part of something bigger than myself.
I got to witness history in the making … and record it.
Under the humid East St. Louis sun, a young Calvin Hughes spent afternoons dribbling around the community basketball court, working on his jump shots and perfecting free-throws. Nothing could fathom his determination, for basketball, he believed, was the passport out of a rough neighborhood.
Today, Calvin Hughes is a news anchor on WPLG Local 10, in Miami, Florida. An emmy award-winning journalist, Hughes continues to be determined and hardworking amidst an ever-changing career. Because of his extensive knowledge in the field’s past, present, and future, he was invited to address an audience of young, aspiring journalists as a keynote speaker for Florida Scholastic Press Association’s (FSPA) 44th Annual Journalism Day at Florida International University (FIU) on Oct.14.
He emphasized the importance of developing strong communication skills: “At some point in your life, you will be called upon,” he said, warning the audience that one day, their speaking and writing skills will be tested. Hughes knows first-hand the importance of obtaining effective communication skills in the field of journalism. When he couldn’t obtain a scholarship through his basketball aspirations, Hughes sought fulfillment elsewhere. A teacher who noticed his unique way of telling stories in his writing suggested dabbling with journalism.
He joined the school newspaper, but quickly realized that his basketball slang and street talk wouldn’t cut it.
For hours on end, he’d take the local newspaper and read out loud. He was relentless and eager to perfect his speaking skills. “I had to completely transform the way I spoke. I practiced working on my diction…Just like I worked on my jump shot,” he said, now a seasoned reporter with a confident, booming voice.
Hughes has had a lot of experience with adapting to change, coincidentally the Journalism Day’s theme for the year. He experienced a culture shock when he transitioned from small town reporting as a recent college graduate to covering international news in the diverse city of Miami, Florida.
“In Miami, you have to be concerned about what’s going on … everywhere,” he said.
Not only did he have to adjust to a new city, but also to a new age of technology. He witnessed the field of journalism confront a new generation that receives news from social media networks. His role as a news anchor, in response, changed. He would no longer break the news; instead his job developed into fact checking and serving as the “journalism police.”
He realized that journalism is a transforming market and pointed out that this year’s coverage of the presidential election is an example why: Both presidential candidates announced their bid for presidency on Twitter. Baffled, Hughes looked unto the young audience before him and said, “Your generation has challenged my generation. We’re still trying to figure you out.”
Ultimately, Calvin Hughes has learned over the course of his career that journalism demands a quick adaptation to change. But he reminded those present on Journalism Day that although the field is transforming, one thing will always remain the same: Journalists’ adamant pursuit of the truth.
“The truth is being compromised,” he said. “It’s up to your generation that the future of communication lives on.”
As of August of this school year, I started interning for the Miami Herald Media Company. I’m still learning the ropes of how things work in a newsroom, but, essentially, I am a reporter! It’s almost like the real deal, except that I get high school credit rather than paychecks. But that’s totally fine with me, because interning for the Miami Herald is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a sophomore, a newbie in the journalism program at my school. So far it’s been great. I just turned in my first assignment with my fellow intern and colleague, both in school and out, Daniela Morales. Together we introduced ourselves to reporters and editors in the newsroom, and made sure to represent our school newspaper, the Harbinger!
Every year, my journalism teacher assigns us a photography challenge where we are partnered up with somebody we must take pictures of. Essentially we have to capture each other’s personality within a mere snapshot. Here’s how we did!
My partner was Nathalie (@) and these are the pictures she took of me…
…and here are the pictures I took of her!
Lastly, my journalism teacher challenged us to look intrinsically and capture photos that depict who we are in a nutshell. I decided to show my bubblinesss:
While waiting in line at Walgreen’s, I glanced at a rack of newspapers beside me. Blaring in bold, red letters the name Trump dominated the front page headline on almost every newspaper publication. I was–to say the least–disgusted. I’m sure there are bigger and much more important things going on in the world, or at least in the presidential race, than Trump’s excessive need to prove to American voters that he can indeed pull nonsense out of the deepest crevices of his being. Yet, I found myself gravitating towards the newspapers and grabbing (and I say this shamefully) multiple publications. I flipped through the pages, and scoffed at Trump’s idiocy. Did he really say that? Is he being for real? What’s next?
For a while, I wasn’t fazed by Trump. Nobody would vote, much less support, such a bigot. Right? Right!? Well I was wrong. We all were. What started off as a means to poke some fun out of politics through Trump Gifs and articles about his outrageous statements turned into an uncontrollable force that evidently played into his favor. Trump got more media coverage than any other presidential candidate. He got free publicity! This is all thanks to journalists and media outlets succumbing to giving the American people what they wanted to read–Entertainment.
Sure, one could say that it’s the average Americans’ fault for being so passionate about criticizing T.V personalities, but we wouldn’t know of these T.V personalities if the media didn’t feed them to us. The truth of the matter is, the media tells the public what to care about. And thanks to the headlines I saw in Walgreen’s, we’ve been told to care about Trump–a lot.
What’s even worse is that the media covered much of Trump’s ramblings without effectively fact checking and shaming him for it, leaving the general public to think that Trump is a straightforward, no BS kind of man. Trump supporters are infatuated with the idea of a businessman running the country. In hopes that the economy could improve under his administration (let’s hope he doesn’t get that far), people struggling financially–particularly the middle class–are convinced that Trump is the answer. What they don’t know is that Trump has had many bankruptcies and failed investments. The media failed to inform them that.
New York Times columnist, Nikolas Kristoff, said, “We were lap dogs, not watchdogs.” And he is right. The media failed us. Let’s just hope that journalists and news outlets will learn from their mistake and go back to being watchdogs.