My reporting professor calls us intrepid journalists. An intrepid journalist is someone who is brave in their reporting and writing. An intrepid journalist is audacious enough to get that interview, to have that conversation, to write that story. An intrepid journalist is courageous and dauntless.
As an aspiring journalist, I’m always admiring journalists who are exceptionally intrepid in their pursuits. I like to think there are even a few different ways to be an intrepid journalist:
- exposing oneself to danger or discomfort to capture a story that must be told
- telling a controversial story that must be told
- sharing personal details to recognize universal truths
Each of these types have one common denominator: telling a story.
Recently I was scanning Twitter and a tweet by Orange Coast Magazine led me to an incredible story.
The feature piece, Center of the Universe, was published last September and written by Jay Roberts. After reading it, I learned why it’s still getting read all over the world. I’d really suggest reading it all the way through, but I’ll provide a short teaser…
Roberts tells the story of a time when he was a young marine in the early 1980s. He met a man on a Southern California beach one day whom he described as “engaging, intelligent, and pleasant—a warm guy with a wry smile.” Roberts spent that afternoon and evening getting to know the guy and sharing a few beers…only to find out, 33 years later, that the man who he remembers so fondly was actually a serial killer…
Read the story here. (The last line is my favorite).
Roberts is an intrepid journalist here because he reveals personal details, emotions and thoughts to share an important story with the audience. He becomes vulnerable and raw. Through sharing his crazy story he appeals to universal truths and offers depth to a haunting possibility.