By Brittany Wilson, The Whetstone
Journalism may seem to be a thankless job. No matter how long and hard you work on an article, there is always going to be someone who has a problem with what you write.
What I’ve learned over these years as an editor at The Whetstone, is it isn’t my job to appease everyone. Journalism doesn’t exist to make people happy. Hate to break it to you, but if you write an article that not one single person finds fault with, you are not a journalist—you’re in PR.
In the words of Henry Louis Mencken, a famous journalist and editor in the early twentieth century, journalism exists to “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.”
In other words, it is a journalist’s duty to hold people accountable for their actions, and keep the public informed about important information they might not know about otherwise.
As you might imagine, the constant criticism gets pretty exhausting. No matter how many home runs you hit, someone is always ready to talk about that one time you swung and missed.
And it seems like most people look for every opportunity they can to dis The Whetstone.
That’s why Kristen and I were excited when we heard that two articles from The Whetstone, published last November, were selected as first-place winners in the 2017 Delaware Press Association’s Communications Contest.
The first article, “Title IX: Students Concerned President’s History Will Repeat Itself,” told the story of former midshipman Annie Kendzior, a woman who says she was separated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2011 after filing two reports of sexual assault. Robert Clark, now President of Wesley College, chaired the hearing that sent Kendzior home before she could graduate.
The second article was an editorial I wrote about my experience talking with Kendzior, and the different perspectives people voiced about her case.
Of anything Kristen and I have ever written—of anything that has been written in The Whetstone during our three years as editors—this article took the most work. And compared to anything else we have ever published, it probably received the most criticism.
Not because the article was untrue, unethical, or misleading. It was none of those things. It was because it called out someone in a position of power.
We knew going in we’d be criticized for writing something like that. But we had no idea that we’d be recognized for it—or that The Whetstone would be awarded for it.Journalism may seem to be a thankless job. But we aren’t in it for the praise.
We do it because there is a positive difference to be made.
There is something fulfilling about investigating a story, seeing it through, and being a driving force for change, as a result.
Even still, knowing there are people who admire and appreciate what we do– both on campus and elsewhere– adds to our drive to keep going, and get things done.
This is for you guys.