What a time to be a journalist.
Last week, I read a harrowing account by three New York Times journalists who were on the scene of the attack on our Capitol. They shared what it was like to be in the room when the Senate chambers went into lockdown and members of Congress were escorted to a secure location.
These reporters were already prepared for a day of adrenaline, I'm sure; witnessing the U.S. legislature confirm the next president is no run-of-the-mill assignment. However, what started as the thrill of the culmination of a democratic election quickly turned to an adrenaline rush of an entirely different sort. A carefully planned day became a whir of confusion and fear.
While reflecting on what happened in Washington a week ago, I've been working on the latest installment of work by our local Trojan News students, and I've wondered if, in some sense, they can relate to the experience shared by the New York Times journalists.
These Worthington High School students registered for the Trojan News class some time ago, when the world was a different place. They likely expected to follow the usual curriculum of working together to produce video news. Maybe they planned to cover community events or sports or cool projects their friends were doing. Then COVID happened, and the students were handed a bigger responsibility than they signed up for.
WHS journalists have spent time and energy interviewing business owners, teachers, farmers and community leaders about how COVID has affected their various ventures. As someone who has also spent the last year doing this, I can attest that this is emotional work. It's not easy to listen to these stories. It takes mental discipline to be a compassionate ear without personally absorbing the pain that subjects recount. It's just not as fun to write about COVID as it would have been to write about all the events that got cancelled this year.
But these student journalists have risen to the occasion. They have responded to a scary situation with courage, meeting the challenge of reporting during a pandemic head-on. They have asked important questions and considered marginalized communities. They have divined a sense of order from a chaotic year.
I'm proud of these students and honored that I've been trusted to work with them. I hope some of them grow up to pursue journalism as a career. Maybe they'll be on the scene of the next national emergency, ready to adapt to their surroundings and report what they're seeing.
If you haven't yet had a chance to check out the work of our Trojan News reporters, please do so. Ten of their stories are already posted on dglobe.com and appeared in the Dec. 2 and 5 editions of The Globe. A week from today, 10 more Trojan News articles will publish in The Globe. On the website, they'll be easily identifiable by the tag "Trojan News."
These students have worked hard, and they deserve the community's support. Mark your calendars, and get excited to read the students' best work.