This past Friday I interviewed a group of high school students who are working on a project in Lancaster city called “Building Hope.” They see a need in their community – a shelter for homeless and runaway teens – and have decided to do something about it.
Again, these are high school students: 18 juniors and 2 seniors. I was and still am amazed by their story.
(A screenshot of the video I was taking purely for reference, not for publication – hence the lack of orientation and quality!)
Talk about flattery. But seriously, I was floored. What a genuinely kind and professional group of students. They seriously wanted their story to be known.
It hit me in that moment.
There is such a clash in the world of news. Some stories are so personal and ugly that the characters would do anything NOT to have them in the paper. Others have stories that are so important but unheard and would do anything to have a inch on a page dedicated to them.
This class falls into the second group and rightfully so. They have a powerful story because it is one of change and hope and purpose. So it needs to be shared, which is why I am thrilled to be able to write about them.
A bit of pressure comes with the situation as well. They are now depending on me to portray their mission in a positive and effective light. Can I live up to their standards? No, my job as a journalist is not make everyone happy, but I am writing soft news. Soft news, or human interest stories, is supposed to bring about happiness. It is supposed to speak of something with which the audience can connect. And that’s my ultimate goal – to fuze a connection between my story and its audience.