Journalism was my first love, but like many passionate and steamy relationships, this one ended horribly once reality set in.
When I was a senior in high school, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. It seemed like all of my friends had their dreams figured out, probably finishing school well before the usual four years of college.
I, on the other hand, was lost. One thing I did know for certain was that I wanted to make a difference.
That same year, in my favorite and last class of the day, forensics, we had a guest speaker. He was Peter Shellem, an investigative journalist for the Patriot News, a newspaper in Harrisburg. He spoke so matter-of-factly about the police and how it was a journalist's job to ensure that those in power were held accountable for their actions.
I soon learned that he was the driving force behind the release of Steven Crawford, as well as four other people, but the Steven Crawford case is the one that interested me most.
Steven Crawford was the brother of Harrisburg mayor Linda Thompson. Thompson was a friend of my mother's, so Crawford felt like a distant relative to me. He was wrongfully accused of murdering his best friend at the age of 14. He spent 28 years in prison before he was released after evidence obtained by Shellem proved his innocence. This made me feel as though I could change the world with my pen alone. I already enjoyed writing.
They say your relationships are a reflection of your past. I agree. I felt like my relationship with journalism was getting pretty serious at this point and no longer just a crush like it was when I was younger.
At about 6 years old, my father was wrongly accused of assault while defending himself from attack by racist men at a bar. The bar was 15 minutes away from my house, across the river in Cumberland County. I remember the trial only a little bit, but I loved lunch breaks and hot chocolate from the vending machine downstairs. Court was so boring.
I also remember hearing racial slurs as we held signs in my father's defense. At this time, I knew the world wasn't as perfect as I thought.
I thought racism only existed in the days of slavery and that it was over now. I found comfort in the journalists and reporters. They were always so nice and some even took pictures of us. This was when my crush for journalism developed. They seemed to be the "good guys."
When I finally got to college at Mansfield University, I declared myself a journalism major.
I was very excited when I found out we had to write for the university's newspaper, The Flashlight. Soon I felt like I was married to journalism. But the spark had gone and I was no longer happy. It wasn't what I thought it was going to be.
I felt like stories for the newspaper had to be "dumbed down." I had become accustomed to writing for teachers and I found this other type of writing very hard and unfulfilling.
I kept trying to hold on, but there was nothing left. I won't tell you how many times I took Introduction to Journalism class and still failed.
At this point, I?have ended my relationship with journalism. It was a bad break-up.
Crane is a student in Dan Mason's class at Mansfield University.
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