Alaska. Its’ snowy expanse often disappears from my radar, just as the white landscape physically disappears in the winter. Though I rarely think of Alaska, when I do, dog sledding, snow, and oil are the only words that come to mind. I never think of the 735,132 people, who according to the United States Census call this state home, nor do I consider the lives that they live and the difficulties they may face. I am drawn to the Alaska backpack journalism trip because of the 735,132 stories that are so rarely told.
Alaska is home to 735,132 people with immensely unique perspectives, cultures, triumphs and difficulties, and I am extremely excited to be able to share even one of these stories with the world. The beauty in journalism for me, is in the communication and learning that is able to take place once a story has been translated from the experience to paper, when it can be shared among people of different cultures, different religions, and different nationalities and creates a connection between people. I believe that journalism has the ability to make humans more human, as it brings to people the ability to empathize and care for people all across the world in all different situations.
As I embark on the Alaska backpack journalism I will have a chance to take part in this connecting of people through their stories, and I will be able to give a voice to people in Alaska who are rarely heard. I will learn first-hand how to best absorb the stories of people and translate them to audiences miles apart, and I will have an amazing cultural experience of my own.
I hope to one day travel the world discovering untold stories and sharing these stories with the world in hopes that people will in turn alter their lives in regards to what they have learned. Throughout the Alaska backpack journalism trip, I hope to gain experience in this type of work and learn how to best go about making this a reality. I hope that through our work bringing to light the Salmon fishing dilemma we can in turn move someone to action in regards to this issue, or that through analyzing the cultural and religious aspects of the Yupik tradition we may aid someone as they attempt to gain a more global religious understanding.
The work we do in writing and creating the documentary in Alaska, will only be as successful as the impact our work has on people, and I cannot wait to begin creating this impact.