By Jason Fuller
My ambition is to be a phenomenal correspondent (national and international) however; do I truly have the mental fortitude required for the profession? A meeting with Kent Patterson would turn out to be my first intimate conversation with a journalist who has done work internationally.
Kent Patterson has worked in the journalism field for close to 30 years and in that he time he has covered critical issues ranging from human rights to environmental issues. As of late, he has focused on the atrocities occurring along Mexico’s border, specifically mass murders and violence against women, or femicide. Hearing of his at times traumatic experience made me freeze time and think about my commitment to justice through journalism. As an American journalist in training, I never fully comprehended the implications of my American privilege overseas. As Kent described the media coverage within Mexico, it was clear that local journalists and media were silenced out of fear and intimidation from the cartels. As a result, news coverage features the cartels positive contributions to the community, rather than the countless kidnappings, rapes and homicides that the cartels are responsible for.
After hearing Kent’s commentary I forced myself to look into the mirror and ask myself whether or not I was cut out for such a career. Originally I wanted to become a journalist to capture individual and community stories of perseverance, and have the ability to inspire those who may face similar adversity. Although this is still an integral reason as to why I am pursuing journalism, the under-representation of people of color within journalism and mainstream media outlets has emerged as my motivation. Since then, I have looked between the lines when reading articles or consuming news, and I find that people of color are systematically marginalized. So, mainstream media not only feeds our society superficial skewed news, but it also fails to tell the truth.
I simply feel as though I do not have a choice but to be a critical journalist of integrity. The realities of the world are troubling and if we don’t have journalists striving for transparency and truth then we as a global community are kept blind. I will do what I can to provide our communities with 20/20 vision.