Journalism and writing are often lumped into a single category. Even people like myself, with a lifelong passion for the written word sometimes get the two confused.
I hadn’t fully understood how the two were different until this semester, when I was enticed by the two magic words that writers and journalists both cherish: “Get published.” It is a basic need and desire by both journalists and writers to have their words read by more people then their English teachers.
The reality is both simple and complicated.
Writers, like myself, live with stories swirling in their heads. Ideas that just beg to be let loose on the world to hopefully touch someone, make them smile or just make them think. Maybe for a few they will even become part of the classics someday.
Journalists, on the other hand, strive to keep people informed and keep others in check. They work with a long list of rules and ethics and hold themselves responsible. Journalists do not just write what pops into their heads. They do not work with an agenda. The job is to dig for, find and report the truth.
Although there have been some great and powerful writers throughout history, it is the journalists who have toppled world powers and informed the public of the good and bad truths. Journalists bring us reality and deserve whatever protection the laws give them.
I will leave this class having learned this lesson: A journalist can be a writer but it takes a special writer to be a journalist.