By Sofia Mendes and Adway Wadekar
We are The Vanguard, a group of 12 students who come from various backgrounds across New England, but were brought together by our shared passion for harnessing the power of words to drive positive change in our communities and beyond.
The world around us has changed drastically in the last few months, from a global pandemic to the accelerating anti-racism movement that has swept the nation; nothing is as it was. To that end, the journalism that people rely upon for clear, concise, and accurate information must change as well.
Now more than ever, people need non-partisan, unbiased journalism. Thus, The Vanguard was born.
A vanguard refers to a group of people at the forefront of a revolutionary movement or battle. We, as upcoming journalists living in a constantly evolving world, are pledging to be the leaders driving change. We will be the voice that provides a fair and detailed representation of the facts—and nothing more. We will be there to enable people to come to their own conclusions and decisions based on accurate information.
While this is not a novel idea, as the Founding Fathers were deliberate in their choice to separate the press from the government in the First Amendment, we feel this has been lost in our current political climate. Partisan motives and the truth have become a blurred line in everyday media. We will be the vanguard in the revolutionary movement to return to journalism that presents the facts as they are.
That begins with clarifying our definition of the truth. Mainstream media outlets are not reporting false information, but the truth always has more than one side, and depending on political views and party association, only one side of the coin has light shed on it. Disregarding those with biased views does not create an understanding of the facts, instead we will be the ones to report an alternate perspective highlighting all ways an issue can be perceived rather than shaming those who have yet to be educated.
In this ever-changing world, what is true at one moment, may be false the next. As young journalists who will soon be a part of the outlets upon which people will rely, we need to hold ourselves to a standard of growth and honesty. We are not perfect writers and are bound to make mistakes, but in those mistakes we must recognize that the transition to proactive media is possible.
Sometimes trending news stories are filled with heated responses to tragedies in hopes of igniting emotional reactions from the general public rather than writing proactively in order to inform citizens of possible issues within our country so they can take a stand before disaster strikes.
An informed public keeps democracy afloat and 2020 has been nothing more than a wake up call, a plea to the younger generation to teach others, speak up, and ignite change. We at The Vanguard realize that with a changing world comes changing journalism, and we will be the pioneers who lead these uncomfortable conversations as we march towards an educated and engaged public.