Speaking Out: My YSN year in review

By  Emily Barber, Youth Speak News
  • September 1, 2017

Not many 18-year-olds can say they’ve written for a national newspaper. And fewer still can say they’ve been given the chance to not only report on current events, but to give their opinions on relevant social issues.

Yet, writing for Youth Speak News has given me that and so much more this year. I’ve been able to conduct interviews, attend a movie screening, review a novel, incorporate my own life experiences into my writing.

As a long-winded and often dramatic writer, I frequently found it difficult to narrow down exactly what it was I was trying to say, which obviously is a must in journalism.

Working with my editor Jean Ko Din definitely helped me realize my shortcomings as a journalist and see more clearly what is expected in this demanding and often hectic field.

Deadlines can be inflexible and it was stressful to juggle all the various aspects of my life in order to make time to turn out the best work possible. Despite this, I do feel that it was a valuable experience.

To be able to have my work published, to meet people my own age with similar interests, to promote Catholic values, to explore different avenues of media and writing all at the same time was a completely unique opportunity.

Not only that, but it enhanced some of the skills I will need as I start university this September.

As a person planning to double- major in English and Political Science, I learned many invaluable skills. I learned how to hone my ability to sort through information and determine what is most important. I developed an awareness of social events and issues. I improved in concise and clear writing, awareness of audience and an openness to ideas will be a useful legacy as I start this new chapter of my academic journey.

I hope that the passion for writing that Youth Speak News has encouraged in me will be able to translate into a continued involvement in writing and in thinking critically about my beliefs and the world around me.

While I may not end up a journalist, working for The Catholic Register has helped me evaluate what it is I want out of my life and what future career paths I may take. I have emerged from this experience more determined than ever to keep writing and to keep learning.

Journalism is definitely not for everyone, and Catholic journalism especially. It is often difficult to publish and promote pieces that do not dovetail with mainstream media.

Yet I thoroughly enjoyed my stint with Youth Speak News and would recommend it to any teen that enjoys a challenging and rewarding experience.

Emily out!

(Barber, 18, is a first-year English and political science student at University of Toronto.)

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