Modern-day storytellers

Laurens Owens, Assistant Editor

He was a short man, about 5’ 3,” with a jaw line stronger than the 60 years of hard labor he spent working to provide for his family. He was a happy man; he never complained about his work or spoke an ill word about anyone.

Peter was a janitor at an international church in Rome, Italy, who came from Ghana, leaving his family and home behind to work and make a better life for himself. Every day Peter worked joyfully while singing songs from his homeland and serving the people around him even though he did not have his family with him.

I spent my days in Rome watching Peter work tirelessly and love everyone with arms wide open.

At first glance, you’d never think that he had gone through a life filled with hardship. However, through hearing his story, you’d see that he was a man of strength and integrity, and he had a story worth being told.

Being able to hear stories like Peter’s is the sole reason I know I have chosen the correct career path: journalism.

Growing up, I said that I wanted to be a photographer and writer for “National Geographic,” but my family continuously discouraged me from pursuing communications as a career.

Every time we would have a holiday dinner, my family would belittle my decision to go to college for journalism. They would tell me that I wouldn’t make enough money to support myself or a family. My grandmother even told me it was time for me to grow up because I had been playing around too long.

However, I know that writing people’s stories is something that makes me come alive. I get a rush of excitement when I’m talking to people and they tell me their stories.

For instance, writing different spotlights and features for “The Patriot” has been one of my favorite parts of working for the collegiate newspaper.

When I wrote the story of Grayson Hucks, a nursing student who suffered a serious brain injury from a car accident, I still remember the excitement I had as I carefully wrote the article to show the beauty of her story and the nervousness I felt hoping the article would be good when it finally published.

That is a feeling I would not change for the world.

Journalists are the storytellers of the world. Our stories aren’t meant for the likes of a movie screen or a young adult fiction book. Instead, we write stories capturing what goes on in the world around us; stories that are meant to inspire and educate others.

Whether our stories are hard news articles bearing heart-wrenching facts or light-hearted features sharing the story of a little girl’s adoption, storytelling is at the heart of how we stay informed on what goes on in the world.

For instance, people like Peter from Ghana; a lot of people would never hear his story if someone wasn’t willing to tell it. I fall in love with journalism all over again when I meet people like Peter.

As I’m pursuing this wild and sometimes tedious career, I will do my part in giving a voice to the voiceless and sharing their stories with the world when I can.