For as long as I remember, there’s been a star in the sky I can always depend on to guide me home.
There’s a location I don’t need Google Maps for.
There is a current I can rely on to carry me to shore.
For me, this is the objective truth.
A lot of people ask me why I’m a news writer. They want to know how someone can be so passionate about writing that doesn’t include my opinion. Why do I continue to write “said” instead of “exclaimed” when I describe a quote? Why do I need sources to describe a Spanish club gathering I attended?
My answer is simple: the truth is rare.
Think of the truth in terms of supply and demand. Better yet, consider diamonds as an example. We all love those shiny, sparkly, little rocks. We pay thousands of dollars for them, we’ll wear them on our ring finger (a finger we’ve even designated for this type of rock). And why? Because diamonds are rare. We love what is rare.
I’m completely obsessed; I’m in love with the truth.
When I flip on the TV to a news station to see election coverage, when I read my crazy aunt’s facebook posts, when I hear gossip about so-and-so at dinner with friends, I am completely and utterly drowning in interpretations.
If the truth is diamonds, opinions are snowflakes. Yes, each can be unique, but it always snows, and anything could be hidden beneath that blanket of white.
I grew up appreciating all types of writing. I’ve fought the good fight with Ayn Rand. I have been brought to tears by Chris Martin’s lyrics. Anything by Sylvia Plath launches me into a philosophical spiral.
But it wasn’t until I realized just how subjective our world is that I appreciated objective journalism. And as cynical as it sounds, the older you are, the more the truth truly seems like a diamond.
When I was in highschool, it was the yearbook that created my love for journalism. While writing about school dances and basketball tournaments weren’t your typical high-profile assignments, I felt responsible for each event I covered.
In my flimsy 16-year-old hands I truly believed I had a job to carry out: to make sure everyone remembered high school as it was. Not only the good times, like when soccer went to state, but also the bad times, like when we lost a student my sophomore year.
Why? Because each truth deserves to be searched for, to be shed light on, to be delivered accurately, and after, interpreted.
I firmly believe in this sequence. So much so, it’s at the core of my values.
My junior year of high school was the worst year of my life, and I can say I’m responsible for causing it, but I will never regret what I did.
When I came home one day after school to overhear my mom on a suspicious phone call, I was lost.
I was sinking, drowning, lost without a compass, until I remembered the very process I lived and breathed.
I searched for the truth in my mom’s messages. His name was Jonathan, and he wasn’t my dad. I considered putting the phone away and slipping back into bed. It would be safe, it would be comfortable.
But I made a choice, and I did so as a journalist.
On my back porch in August at approximately 1 a.m. a bubble burst when I called my dad, who was away on business.
At approximately 1 a.m., I forwarded the texts as evidence, and summarized as accurately as I could have.
The truth is like diamonds, but the comparison only goes so far. Diamonds are always seen as beautiful; the truth can be hideous.
But even so, we all deserve to know what’s beneath the snow.