My moral compass
It’s hard being a journalist. Everyone expects you to be a slimey so-and-so who will tattle to people about anything. What I’ve found, not just in journalism but in life, is that there are times when my compass has broken or hovered, and I’ve had to question what I really stand for.
At my age, there is a lot of talking about each other. Everyone’s a little bit of a gossip, and they don’t see the harm in it. But I used to really be submerged in that culture, and I fell out with people because of this pack culture of attacking. I should have stood back and thought, ‘What if this was me?’. Unfortunately, it was only when it became me that I realised how hurtful saying unnecessarily mean things are. Even if someone has upset you, it doesn’t give you the right to do the same. It’s easy to be nasty, but it’s not difficult to be nice.
In actual terms of journalism, a journalist contacted me yesterday and asked me to dig up dirt about a racist incident that happened at my university. He offered money and work experience – a student journalist’s dream, right? But deep down I knew that this wasn’t the right way to make sure the perpetrators were put to justice. As I’ve learnt in my personal life, the justice system of the public is pretty harsh. I also realised that my integrity can’t be bought, and that I value my name as a journalist and as a person.
Listening to your gut is difficult. When everyone else is doing the wrong thing and making it sound like it’s right, it’s easy to join in. A lyric from my favourite song goes ‘There are times to act, times to stand back, and times show what’s needed to rely on.’ Find the people that make your moral compass swing the right way, and find it in yourself to listen to it as well. Listen to it tick, make sure it doesn’t get scratched.
After all, it’s one of the most important things that you own.