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Talking it over: A guiding force

Last week I attended the annual Minnesota Newspaper Convention. I usually gain a little bit of knowledge and perspective at this event,; however, this year there was one thing that really stood out for me.

On Thursday night, before the start of the yearly awards banquet, a prayer was said. This has been part of the banquet every year and was normally something I didn’t think too much about. This year, as in past years, the invocator asked God for guidance as the journalists filling that room strive to share the stories of good and bad events, work to make people accountable for their actions and photograph the world and things affecting our lives.

It was a simple prayer but made me realize how much journalists, and others around the world, rely on God’s help in their daily lives and professions.

What also struck me about the prayer was that no one stood up and protested it. There were people in that room from all walks of life, many nationalities and religious sects. Even if they did not believe in God, they stood quietly with the majority. Perhaps some said their own prayer to the god of their choosing.

In the journalism field, we adamantly profess freedom of speech. We support anyone who has an opinion whether it agrees with our own or not. However, when we get together as a large group, we share one major opinion, that we need God’s help in our work and His voice is the most important one to be heard.

I came away from the convention with many ideas and thoughts, but this prayer will probably stay with me the longest. Through it, I will remember that even though I have the freedom of speech, what I say should be said through careful thought and understanding. As I photograph the many good and bad events that take place, I should also take time to capture the brilliance of the beautiful things around us and affecting our lives each day. In my regular schedule of covering meetings, ballgames, concerts and school events, I should be looking for the things that have a positive affect on the people involved.

And  when I need to report news that is not always good, I will attempt to do so with carefully guided words. This will be the biggest challenge, as people may disagree as to how this should be put in print. However, keeping people accountable for their actions, is also a way of doing God’s work.

Along with the prayer and vast amount of shared knowledge, I also came away from the convention with an award for last year’s graduation section. I was very pleased to be recognized for this knowing that it was through God’s help that this was made possible. It is my goal to continue to do the best that I can and pray for His guidance.