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A Student Journalist Navigates Online Storytelling

Posted on: March 24, 2020 in Student Stories by Angelina Dequina

Dim sunlight bathed my face as I awoke last Monday. Through my blinds, I could see that the gray sky, washed with milky clouds. I heard the soft whistle of birds outside my window, the gentle thrum of the hummingbirds that visit my great aunt’s garden. 

It was hard to believe that such a peaceful day would end in confusion and uncertainty. It was the first day I cut myself off from the world amid the mounting fears of the coronavirus pandemic.  

Something about the quietness of the earth outside my window made me uneasy. I felt the heavyweight of people’s fear through their absence. My stomach panged with a feeling of worry and empathy. 

I unlocked my phone while I was in bed. Scrolling through Facebook, my eyes bounced around all the new articles about coronavirus from the Washington Post. I told myself I shouldn’t because it would only add to my fear of the sickness, but I respect the journalists at the Washington Post and count on their accuracy and honesty.

I, myself, am a student journalist. I understand the great lengths they go through to tell people the truth—even if it means risking their own lives. 

For this kind of nobility, I admired their prowess in their craft.  

Their courage is seldom cheered on. As I scrolled through the comment sections, I read through people’s angry comments about how much the media exaggerates the pandemic. People showed distaste for the consistent articles—the dreadful reminders—of the panic that is sweeping across the globe. 

The interaction on each article’s post was surreal. It was as if I was wafting through rioting crowds of people all with differing opinions, but shared anger towards the enigma that surrounded coronavirus. 

Journalists are at the epicenter of an invisible catastrophe.  

I wondered where this placed me. I thought back to my experiences covering city council meetings. I sat for hours on end, listening carefully to each item on the agenda, watching each person deliver their speech to the council. 

City council meetings are places where things often go overlooked. 

Passionate people are regulars, but their voices often fall on deaf ears if journalists are not present. Every article I wrote about the meetings was inspired by the people who were affected by the board’s decisions. 

I observed the same trend in the articles written by journalists at the Washington Post. They wrote about the places and people who were the most affected by the virus. They had gone outside and traced the silhouetted marks coronavirus had left on humanity. 

A journalist is an observer of events, details, and people’s emotions. They observe hope where others may see none.  

I knew that the heaps of news about coronavirus would continue for a while. Each time I wake up, there would be a flash flood of new information. 

For me, the light bestowed by the information in these articles was better than being kept in the dark.  

The light fueled by the work of journalists like me would permeate across the world and help many people stay informed. I fell asleep, comforted by this fact. 

And again, dim sunlight bathed my face.  

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    Angelina Dequina

    Angelina Dequina is a social media intern with Strategic Communications and Brand Management department at Cal State Fullerton. She is a senior majoring in communications.


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