The 2016 presidential election sparked my interest in journalism. Through the news coverage I consumed, I became aware of how important the media was during and after the election. Misinformation and unprofessional political tactics led to that election being skewed unlike any other in our country’s history, bringing with it a wave of distrust for the media. During this time, I also came to understand how certain communities, like mine, were disadvantaged by their lack of media literacy and representation.
While attending College of the Desert in 2020, I took part in an internship at our local newspaper, The Desert Sun. Having to shift to remote work, I was tasked with reporting the daily COVID numbers for Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. I was later assigned to work on a survey project with another reporter. We surveyed residents from the Eastern Coachella Valley regarding how they had been affected by the virus.
Being able to survey my community opened my eyes to the assistance that marginalized communities need, as well as the lack of diversity in our current media representatives. Most residents did not trust the information they were consuming surrounding the virus and were unaware of the resources available to them. Learning this motivated me to want to inform my community, and others who are underrepresented, with the hope that more people will consume the news and participate in politics; thus allowing them to be better prepared to overcome systemic and generational barriers.
Upon transferring to UCR, I immediately joined The Highlander Newspaper starting as the Assistant News Editor. I am majoring in political science with a concentration in international affairs and am interested in breaking news and political reporting. Through my coursework, I have strived to take courses that will teach me about other cultures and countries so that I can better understand different groups of people, including their struggles, and accurately represent them in my writing and reporting.
This year I served as the Opinions Editor at the Highlander and oversaw the Opinions Section. My tasks this year included being in charge of our editorial, working with writers and contributing to other sections possible. In this role, I took special consideration to highlight sensitive topics and voices of people whose stories were under reported. I also joined KUCR, UCR’s radio station, to learn more about radio broadcast and podcasting. This quarter I have an hour-long music show that takes place Mondays at noon.
Being an editor at The Highlander has been a great experience and allowed me to grow as a writer and person. The environment that we have created at the newspaper is welcoming and encourages everyone to be their best selves. Through working here I have met my closest friends and found a group of like minded people who share my same values. Unlike other campus organizations that are more bureaucratic, I never felt the pressures of competition or that I could not be myself.
I am thankful to the whole Highlander team for being great friends and coworkers and allowing me to feel like I belonged even as a transfer student. As I continue with my career, I will be attending UCB for my Masters in Journalism. The role of reporters, and those in the media, is to be unbiased while informing and telling the stories of their communities. This is what I would like to continue doing.