Truth to Power: My Time in Journalism

DAVID B. GUMBS |

ST. THOMAS – In his 1839 play, “Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy,” the English writer Edward Bulwer-Lytton first coined the phrase “… The pen is mightier than the sword.”

More than a century and a half later, the idea that the written word could be stronger than any force of aggression or intimidation remains both undeniably true and immensely important. It is a belief that has taken hold across all of humanity regardless of borders such as nations, culture or language.

It is also an ideal whose usage – and indeed misuse – has shaped the course of history time and again, and will continue to play a guiding role for mankind as we collectively move into this new age of uncertainty.

Thanks to the astounding advancements in technology, the world is now more connected than ever before, and events that were once unknown or kept far at a distance from us can be brought to the attention of the entire world.

However, with all the potential for good that this can generate, there is an equal, terrible potential for harm; for we are indeed more connected through news as a species than we have ever been, but that same news also arguably less trustworthy that it has ever been too.

To easily have half-truths and yellow journalism enflamed opinions and stirred outrage and passion in the hearts of many, only to ruin the lives and reputations of innocent people by the time their falsehoods are exposed to the world.

In this time of both journalistic greatness and uncertainty, institutions such as the UVI Voice and UVI’s Communications classes are more important that they have ever been before.

Through my experiences in my Com 200 class, I learned how to do research, draft articles and write for an audience in a professional and – most importantly for news – impartial manner.

My time as a writer and reporter for the UVI Voice helped me even more giving me real, hands-on experience in working for a newspaper company in an educational and familiar environment. These two experiences have helped me immensely, and as we move towards a future where the power to become a reporter and change the world is at everyone’s fingertips, it’s important that we have a place that can instruct us and teach us about the enormous responsibility that comes with that power.

We live in a world where pen being mightier than the sword is not only a clever adage but the law, and in this world, each and every one of us has the power to change the world.

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