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SIPA can be the start on a path

Kevin Mobley, SIPA Vice President and Editor-in-Chief, ODYSSEY newsmagazine, Clarke Central HS (Athens, Georgia)

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As this year, 2015, comes to a close, we are reminded that current social, political and environmental climates we inhabit make right now both an exciting and frightening time to be a journalist.

Just as Twitter, WordPress, Google, YouTube and the entire sphere of social media have revolutionized how we consume news, the news itself seems to have plunged into dark waters.

Our country and world have devolved into uncontrollable violence, with terrorism and racial tensions in 2015 rising to a seemingly all-time high.

2015 has been quite the year for the First Amendment rights that act as the lifeline for journalists across the nation.

Truth, however, is far from absolute. Your truth can be different than mine, and that’s fine. But it’s the path we set upon to discover what truly affects us and those around us–the journey itself–that means the most.”

For many, those rights have been impeded upon, as journalists have been detained in covering protests in Ferguson and certainly in the Middle East, student journalists have had their right to cover a public campus denied at the University of Missouri, and one of the leading presidential candidates for the 2016 election, Donald Trump, has just added a direct contradiction to the Constitution’s “freedom of religion” clause to his platform.

Developments like these are exactly why SIPA and efforts like it are vital catalysts in growing, networking and empowering student journalists.

If we want to influence the world we live in tomorrow, we have no choice but to take action today.

Our theme for the SIPA convention in March centers around the concept of truth and how we as journalists aim to uncover it.

Truth, however, is far from absolute. Your truth can be different than mine, and that’s fine. But it’s the path we set upon to discover what truly affects us and those around us–the journey itself–that means the most.

SIPA won’t turn you into a professional journalist ready to embed yourself in war-torn Syria. That takes initiative, years of knowledge and a whole lot of courage.

But SIPA can be the start on that path: the one session that drives you to become a photojournalist or that one connection that lands you the news anchor gig of your dreams in 10 years.

Holding the truth goes beyond you or me. It’s a commitment to finding our respective passions, and spending the rest of our lives seeking to positively impact our world.

Now more than ever, truth is the key to change.

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SIPA can be the start on a path