Tag Archive: journalism

As a journalist, I interview people with diverse opinions. Opinions I do not always agree with. But regardless of whether I agree, my job is to listen to and record those opinions without interjecting my own. I think more people should take this approach, allowing different groups and individuals the chance to voice and defend their opinions, regardless of how unpopular those opinions may be. Instead of limiting someone’s free speech by trying to silence them, listen to their side so you can get the facts before responding.

Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, agrees.  Lukianoff gave the keynote address during UNC’s First Amendment Day. He said students are learning to silence unpopular speech as a kind of noble act, and this kind of behavior limits speech. It kills the potential to debate different views openly.

The disruptive protests at the Tom Tancredo speech prove that this phenomenon is apparent on UNC’s campus.

I encourage students to break this trend and to be more open-minded about conflicting opinions. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with everyone, or that you can’t defend your own opinion. It means respecting other opinions as well as your own and respecting the rights of others to voice those opinions. Take the time to hear other people out—you may be surprised. By hearing other opinions, you will be aware of different viewpoints and discover where you stand in relation to others.

-MaryAnn Barone

Crammed bookshelves

The life of a novelist is not without appreciation. As writers, we are often solitary creatures, in tuned to the world, observing yet walking at a distance.

“The flair of an ingenious sentence is cushioned with the palatable hint of originality.”

This phrase spewed from my writing professor’s lips as her Tibetan singing bowl hummed the truth of these words on my first day of college. This was before writing was designated to Greenlaw—when it was part of the very culture that demanded it be free and admired.

I was horrified to learn that we are living in a dying world. A world where thousands of unread books cascade on bookshelves because not enough people care to read what’s inside the covers. It seems the hard work, frustration and despair of being a writer is reduced to a blogger and opinion columnist—journalism has become the new pursuit for many budding writers—a stable career where money can be made.

This is not to say journalism is not creative, and I worked hard to get into the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, but my real dream was to live in a loft where I’d wake every morning to write, photograph and live a simple life.

But I learned to live in this changing globe, this world where writing is about profit and not admired for its beauty and novelty.

The human element hasn’t changed; we all still bleed, laugh, cry and manipulate—it is as impermeable as time. But preferences change, technology increases laziness and reading is a pastime remembered by grandparents.

Publishers look for specific genres and with the decline of readers, bookstores cannot afford to fill the walls with unknown authors. And so, writing has become trite. It is borrowed themes from decade and century old writers—from a time when writing was still an art form, and they were known and hailed as Renaissance men and women.

Still, it’s hard for me to believe it will soon be gone. Writing is feverish, personal and fantastic. For me, it brings back an aura of simplicity and peace—a childhood realm of fantasy, where perhaps only dreams can truly manifest themselves.

Education embraced it as the creative outlet of imagination. Now in my senior year, I just see it fading with the chalkboard and ruby red apples once left on teacher desks.

My writing mentors demanded expression—any kind, but nothing boring, nothing old, nothing previously whispered or hinted at. We had to strive for Picasso, not Monet.

And so books settle in for a long nap in empty libraries, while writers descend with the laziness of mankind. Still, maybe our only salvation lies in the changing world of literature—the blogs, columns and features—and our willingness as writers to bring our dreams with us no matter where we go.

By Karen Kleimann