By: Jelena Nenadic, JS Major
On September 17th, late afternoon, I had the pleasure (and luckily, time!) of hearing Sara Ganim speak in the Morris Dailey Auditorium.
In case you have not already heard, Sara investigated and broke one of the biggest news stories of the year – the Sandusky and Joe Paterno case, at Penn State University (where Sara graduated). For her exceptional work, and bravery in taking on highly esteemed individuals within her community (by that I mean individuals who were worshiped), Sara received the coveted Pulitzer Prize in local journalism. Making the story even more amazing is the fact that Sara is only 24 years old. It was refreshing to hear from an individual in such young stages of her career; usually, I am listening to people who have been experts in this or that for numerous years. Sara was a wonderful reminder that one does not have to be an expert for ages before accomplishing something great.
Sara did not elaborate greatly on the details of the case (in fact, not much at all), or discuss what the breaking of this story means for social justice issues; instead, she mainly discussed her work in journalism, challenges she faced, and the lessons she learned. After all, it was an event organized by the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Nevertheless, Sara shared some great points that transgress into all areas of life, work and social:
- It really matters who you work for! As a student that is about to graduate and move forward into the working world, this message greatly resonated with me.
In order to succeed, you should be employed by a boss who supports you, listens to your ideas, values your thoughts and opinions, and presents you with challenges.
Working mindlessly for an employer who does not value and acknowledge your worth will cripple your capabilities and hinder your confidence level.
- Social media matters: sometimes! In the world of ever increasing technology, do not become solely reliant on your many gadgets. There is still value in doing things old school - talking to people in person being one of them. That being said, recognize that technology can also be your friend and assist in efficiency; find a balance, reap the benefits of both.
- Do not underestimate that people will lie to you! Seems like a given, but if you are like me, you walk around wanting to believe, and looking for, the good in people.
Keep in mind, however, not everyone has your best interests at heart. It is easy to forget that if someone appears friendly and trustworthy. Trust yourself first.
- Lie on your time card! Now, this one is also very work focused, and does not sound so great, but Sara wanted to send the message that you should not just classify your work into the 9 – 5 and then completely check out mentally once out the door. In order to move forward in your field of work, break big stories like Sara, you will need to go the extra mile. Work some extra hours. Show that you care, show initiative. This will not be at all difficult if you love your job; make sure you are passionate about the work you are in.
The advice Sara provided were very inspiring and motivating. However, I consider the fact that Sara brought about a discussion on sexual abuse (a sensitive subject that deserves more conversation), especially in such a large institution, most significant. I was reminded again, as a Justice Studies student, the value of the topics we discuss and learn about; reminded again why I chose to study Criminal Justice, and my goal of making this world a better place. Sara did not mention this in her presentation, but I would like to point out the significance of having integrity, and carrying that into any Justice Studies career you embark on. As students who study social justice, and injustices, we have a duty, a responsibility, to represent ourselves with integrity, and realize the importance of the knowledge we carry. You are more equipped than others to spot racism on a school campus; more likely to be able to spot a victim of abuse; as a potential officer, you would have great impact within your community. Share your knowledge, and make sure you use it. There is no age limit on when you can do something great; with the tools provided from your education, you are well equipped to change the world.Tags: Pulitzer Prize, Sandusky, Sara Ganim