Opinion: The value and person behind the writing

As a shy sophomore who knew she would have a beat, I was nervous to join the Daily Iowan opinions section. However, my experience thus far at the DI has increased my confidence by reminding me of the value behind who I write about.


Ally Pronina, Opinions Columnist

“I can’t imagine why any news person would want to talk to somebody who can only talk through a machine. How boring.”

This is a quote from Melody, a character with cerebral palsy, in one of my favorite books, *Out of my Mind* by Sharon Draper. I’m not a news reporter. I don’t like using the inverted pyramid or omitting my opinion.

However, I am more comfortable talking to someone with than without a MediTalker. I would be more excited to interview someone who talks through a machine than a politician.

As a psychology major, I’m passionate about mental health.  A lot of my friends have disabilities

This can be seen in my work for The Daily Iowan. I have not, nor will I ever, write a column expressing my views on a political issue or candidate. Yet, I have written and will continue to write disability advocacy articles.

Joining the opinions staff, I had a lot of self-consciousness. Why would anyone want to publish work from someone with that comfort zone and limitation? What are political science majors going to think of that psychology major who wants to write about eating disorders and suicide?

Months later, I still live in that comfort zone. Yet, I have more confidence.

My favorite newsroom memories so far, and ones I can already tell will stay with me forever,  have been those where I’ve discovered I had nothing to worry about.

I’ve gotten so much support from other opinion writers and *DI* editors. While I’m sure they have never seen anyone who writes consistently about what I do, that has not stopped them from showing me they care about, respect, and see potential in what I have to say.

Deep down inside, I have always known this but my experience thus far at the DI has shown me where the value in my writing lies. It does not come from sticking to the status quo, but from the people and community I write about.

People with disabilities give my writing the ability to spread messages about how we all have humanity and value. They give my writing the ability to show we are all worthy of joy, love, and acceptance. They give my writing the ability to be enjoyed by readers in a newsroom, city, and University which do not agree with me politically.

I write about the people who inspire me. One of my favorite parts of the journalistic process has been doing interviews. As an introvert, I typically dislike talking to people but I am comfortable and love talking to the people I usually use as sources.

I love expert sources supporting me writing about scientific topics, like gene editing and the relationship between mental and physical health.  I love seeing the excitement my non-experts sources portray at getting their voices heard.

I want to give someone with a mental illness the courage to reach out for help. I want to make someone with a physical disability feel like Lebron James. I want to make people with genetic diseases not see their chromosome structure as a mistake.

I want to make everyone realize they have a story worth telling and feel like somebody.

I am going to come back to the newsroom with more confidence.  I love the magic not sticking to the status quo and two different worlds colliding creates. I love my journalistic philosophy and cannot wait to continue spreading it at the DI and beyond: Everyone deserves a breaking news story at least once in his or her life, for we all overcome and bless the world.