During the holiday season, Fort Worth Report journalists are remembering their favorite stories of 2022. Click here to read more essays.
During the first part of my fellowship here, I sharpened my skills by being around a wonderful group of journalists that sincerely care about the community, from the arts to local government.
I grew up in the Far Greater Northside Historical neighborhood of Fort Worth, but have been more involved in Tarrant County during my time at the Fort Worth Report than ever before. As part of the Arts & Culture team, I have been able to tell numerous stories of this county’s subcultures, such as the underground dance scene and vintage clothing market. Arts & Culture Editor Marcheta Fornoff welcomed my ideas and made me feel like a valuable part of the team.
But, one of my favorite pieces revolved around a topic that is deeply important to me: the political process. Ahead of the midterm elections, I spoke with young college students and first-time voters about the issues driving them to the polls and outlined what was at stake locally on election day, striving to maintain the Report’s non-partisan mission.
You might ask: Why would I choose covering politics as my favorite story? The working-class perspective is often missing in political reporting. For journalism to restore its trust with the public, it must be willing to return to its working-class roots. Being given an opportunity to play a role in political coverage, no matter how small, is important to me and would prepare me for what I want to do in the future.
That was the main theme of my time here: receiving opportunities to show my value in this industry. I’m still shocked that I’m actually working as a journalist.
Coming from a lower middle class household, I always thought I would be judged or thrown to the curb because I don’t fit the typical mold for a journalist. However, working at Fort Worth Report has shown me that there are people in this industry that genuinely care about giving an opportunity to people who don’t have the same access as others. I can’t wait to resume my fellowship in the spring and continue to grow as a journalist here.
Juan Salinas II is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter.