For each man, woman and child in this expansive world, there is a destiny that is exclusively theirs, a theoretical map that lays out the specific something they were created to do. However, some people argue destiny does not exist – that people make their own way in the world and there is no such thing as fate or kismet.
I believe in the grand scheme of things – it is a little bit of fate and a little bit of hard work that enables people to operate in the world. For example, a person may eventually score the opportunity of becoming a great, well-known baseball player (fate), but it will not happen if they don’t hone their skills through practice (hard work).
Everyone has talents and abilities – finding them is not always easy, but they are there. Once people find their talent, they must use that talent or it will atrophy severely. Destiny or not, I believe the talent I have been given is writing. It is in the spirit of using my gifts to the fullest that I decided to study journalism – a field in which I can use my ability and get paid for it on a consistent basis – and I hone that talent by writing for the Oracle.
I don’t purport to be the next Dave Barry or among the ranks of great muckraking reporters such as Ida Tarbell – I wish. However, I do know how to write well and this could work to my advantage, as many college graduates unfortunately seem to lack this skill. According to a survey of 431 human resource professionals conducted by business research organization The Conference Board in 2006, “poor writing skills … continued to be a problem among both two-year and four-year college graduates.”
Communicating properly is important in many fields, especially journalism, as journalists are disseminating, reporting and then writing information for other people to read. So it is essential that “the craft should have grace, power and relevance,” said Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Rick Bragg at a Society of Professional Journalists regional conference this weekend in Gainesville.
Knowing how to write gives way to the more important task at hand in journalism: telling people’s stories. Bragg, who grew up in rural Alabama hearing countless stories told by friends and relatives, gave a talk at the conference called “Storytelling in the New Age.” He emphasized that it is the main job of a writer or journalist to tell the story, to make the news come fully alive to the reader through imagery words can provide.
However, using my writing ability in journalism is not just about my ability to turn a phrase or create the fluffiest of metaphors – it goes deeper than that. I have to theoretically get out of the way and report the truth – be it pretty or ugly – of what happens to my peers, to my elders and to strangers. It is them and their stories that is at the heart of it all, without which there would be no substance for journalists to work with. There are those who create the news and those that report the news, and though it may or may not be left to chance of who ends up doing what, both roles are equally important to each other. The telling of stories serves to, as Bragg said in his book Somebody Told Me: The Newspaper Stories of Rick Bragg, “put a human face on those who cannot speak for themselves.”That doesn’t sound too bad of a way to spend a destiny to me.
Amanda Whitsitt is a senior majoring in mass communications.