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Left: LEARNING: ODYSSEY Media Group Print Managing Editor and Journalism I Facilitator Chloe Sears smiles with a press pass from Senator (D-Ga.) Raphael Warnock's Statewide Tour at a rally in Downtown Athens in December of 2020. The rush of adrenaline and excitement that Sears experienced from writing the event coverage for this rally at The 40 Watt Club is something that she continuously refers back to while talking to OMG Production staffers and Journalism I students. "Though my time in ODYSSEY has been short thus far, I've done my best to become as involved with ODYSSEY as I possibly can. When the Editor-in-Chief asked me to cover this event, I was both honored and terrified, but it was a major milestone in my journalism career," Sears said. "I don't think I'd be where I am today if it weren't for the boost of confidence that this experience gave me. I'm so grateful to have this memory and this writing experience." Photo by Chloe Sears

About: About


An Essay

While I could show my commitment to diversity in the ‘Work’ section of my portfolio through a variety of stories that I’ve published, I felt as though I would best be able to show this through an essay. I haven’t been part of the ODYSSEY Media Group for a long time, but in the two years I’ve been here, the word “diversity” has taken on a very important meaning to me. 

With the background that I come from, I have the fortune of seeing first-hand how diversity—and a lack thereof—impacts community. My old school was a conservative private school in my community, so it wasn’t a diverse place. When I transferred to Clarke Central High School and joined the ODYSSEY Media Group, I quickly developed a deep appreciation for the diversity in this community, and began to understand just how important it is to maintain this in storytelling. And as  a cis-gendered heterosexual white female,  this required a shift in thinking that I was more than happy to make.

As a journalist and as a student at this school, I have to remember that the majority of it is not white, which meant that many of my classes did not accurately reflect this. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much diversity in the advanced and AP-level classes that I’ve been enrolled in, so at times it made searching for stakeholders difficult because I wanted to reflect the school community as a whole, not just the small part of it I’ve been getting to know. 

And as somebody whose background and experience does not contribute to a diverse environment, I strive to commit to a diversity in thinking. I joined ODYSSEY Media Group’s Production staff with no journalistic experience whatsoever, so it took a real shift in thinking for me to begin recognizing the stories and other aspects of journalism that were vital to success in a scholastic setting. Not only this, but I don’t want to write stories that readers could find on any journalism website they look up on the internet.

I spent the fall semester of my senior year covering the varsity football team. I’d never covered the team before, much less published sports stories except for one during my junior year. I knew almost nothing about football when I started, but I still committed my time to interviewing players and telling their stories. It was a learning experience and I was nervous, but football is important to the community, so I made it important to me. I did everything I could to make sure I understood the sport well enough to report on it, even if that meant asking the football coach or football players to explain a term that might have been obvious to them, but sounded like another language to me. 

I think one of my best examples of this is the op-ed I wrote, titled “Unregistered but engaged: Generation Z on politics”.  This was a passion project, and I hope that showed in my final product because it was fascinating to learn about other people’s experiences when it comes to politics. My goal throughout the last two years has been to take this mindset—one that is dedicated to learning and growth, and apply it to all aspects of the work that I do. So my definition of diversity is not just to represent people of different races, ages and genders, but also to create diversity in how I represent them. My school community is made up of different people and different stories, and I believe that I wouldn’t be truly committed to diversity if I didn’t adapt my methods of coverage to best represent them. So I strive to tell all of these stories to the best of my ability on a daily basis, and I will do so in a wide range of ways so I can show the originality and uniqueness of each one.

This has been my goal as a journalist since I joined the ODYSSEY Media Group when I transferred to Clarke Central High School in 2020. This is my commitment to diversity.

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