Why am I here?

Evan Mays • Jun 11, 2018 at 9:04 AM

Why am I here? That’s a very good question. 

As I sit at my desk, considering an answer, one of my favorite quotes comes to mind. Eric Hoffer, an American moral and social philosopher once said, “In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” Now, most argue that Hoffer was speaking about the growing field of technology and its profound effect on modern society. To me, however, this quote has a much different meaning.

As a journalist, I think it is my duty shed light on people and stories from every corner of every walk of life. In today’s world it seems to me the biggest problem we face is a lack of communication. It seems that in today’s world if someone is different than you, instead of learning more about them, hostility is already growing within both of you. To me, journalism is about tearing down that divide and helping those with differences find common ground. The learners, as Hoffer calls them, who are open to change and meeting people different from themselves will inherit the earth.

To become one of those people, an open dialogue is important. No subject is taboo until someone makes it taboo. That is what I hope to accomplish throughout my career: creating an open dialogue to bridge gaps between different types of people. Whether it be police brutality, immigration, feminism, religion, gay rights, or any other hop topic social issue, those problems can all be solved by understanding both sides and finding a solution through communication. 

I do understand, however, that those are some lofty ambitions. I am a senior at Volunteer High School and the first high school intern to be hired at the Johnson City Press in 25 years, which is an extreme honor. I am so lucky to be working alongside of some of the most talented and friendly people this profession (and community) has to offer.

At Volunteer, I play varsity tennis and I also compete in the SkillsUSA state and national competitions through Volunteer’s criminal justice program. In the summer of 2016, I attended the Washington Journalism and Media Conference (WJMC) as a national youth correspondent, and afterward I served on the WJMC Youth Advisory Board for the 2017 conference.

I plan on applying for early admission to the University of Tennessee, where I will major in journalism and electronic media, with a double minor in political science and women, gender, and sexuality. My goals may seem far off, or even impossible to some. But, not to me. The steps to any goal start small. I hope to spend the summer here at the Johnson City Press shedding light on some of our diverse community’s stories and giving a voice to community members who have a story to tell. 

Again, I would like to reiterate how honored I am to be an intern at the Johnson City Press this summer, and I look forward to bringing this incredible community some breaking news and interesting stories.

For inquiries or tips, or if you have a story you would like to share with me, you can reach me at [email protected].

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