Blessed to be a witness

There’s a song by Ben Harper that has become the unofficial anthem of Backpack Journalism (yes, this is besides our dance songs like  Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t  Stop the Feeling” with a close

Group photo of Backpack Journalism and two vans
The Backpack Journalism group in the Sonoran desert. Photo by Nico Sandi and drone

second being  Abba’s “Dancing Queen,” and the “Coyote” song.)

Harper’s song is called “Blessed to be a Witness.” It fits perfectly with our mantra that it is our responsibility as journalists and people to bear witness, to be men and women for and with others. From the terrific blogs written by these students, you can see how deeply they feel that imperative to bear witness. It is difficult. Bearing witness can shake what you’ve believed. Bearing w

itness can make you sad and uncomfortable. Bearing witness can mean you have tears rolling down your face as your listen to a young woman’s story of her migrant family and the responsibility she feels.

One of the best and worst parts of being a journalist is your closeness to tragedy and to joy and to everything in-between. What you learn can make you angry or frustrated or just happy.

The responsibility and joy of bearing witness comes home to me as I work with my colleagues and the terrific group of Backpack Journalism students here at the border between the United States and Mexico

. Their capacity to bear witness and their dedication to the task inspire me everyday.


Carol Zuegner

About Carol Zuegner

I am a journalism professor at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. I teach writing, social media, media entrepreneurship, international mass communication and I am lucky enough to be a part of Backpack Journalism. I focus on interviewing, writing and being Mama Zoogs.

1 thought on “Blessed to be a witness

  1. Carol – thank you for this beautiful reflection. I enjoy reading the blogs & will continue to pray for all of you on this important journey. Take care!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *