Hamel: ‘I wouldn’t want to serve the public in any other way’


Opinion Editor Peyton Hamel is a junior in kinesiology – human medicine, genetics and English. 

Peyton Hamel

News acts as its own living, breathing organism. It abides by an operating system, reshaping its form as new information rises with the times.

It breathes.

It beats.

It dreams. 

It storms.

It hunts.

It inspires. 

I never thought I would fall in love with the media like I have today. Over a year ago, I can surely say I never cared much for the media. I always found newspapers charming, but the only thought that came to mind was they were made from trees, and they were barely being read. What a waste of paper, I thought so many times over. 

As a society, I don’t believe we would function the same without the media and the news. Without it, how would we know what we do now? How would we continually educate ourselves? How would we stay up to date on the world’s activities? 

We wouldn’t. 

I believe journalism is one of the best public services to exist. And I wouldn’t want to serve the public in any other way. 

I remember walking into the Iowa State Daily’s office the very first week of my freshman year and expecting to become a reporter. I didn’t care for journalism, but I did care for the writing, and I still do. I was ready to work. I was ready to find any beat. I wanted to spread the word and share with others what’s happening. 

My editorial adviser looked at my schedule and said, “Wow. You’re busy. We love those kinds of people around here.” Then he told me I probably wouldn’t want to be a reporter. “You’re a writer. So be the writer you want to be.”

He assigned me to opinion. And I haven’t looked back since.

You see, there are two essential facets of journalism: the facts and the commentary. The media serves these two purposes: 1) to report, and then 2) to direct you in how to interact with this information. One could not exist without the other. 

As the opinion editor, I’m in charge of the latter half: the commentary, the advisement, the wand to the wizard. Every single day, I read about so many ideas and so many opinions. I can’t even remember them all. I read about the world’s positives, negatives and neutrals. The diversity. Isn’t that beautiful? 

I have the privilege of elevating voices you may not find elsewhere. I have the privilege of reading about people’s passions. I have the privilege to inform others about what’s going on in our world and what we can do about it. 

Journalism has changed my life. I don’t know where I would be without it, and honestly, I don’t want to know. This latter half of the newspaper is where the magic happens. 

Debates on Black Lives Matter. 

Debates on politics and the upcoming 2020 election. 

Debates on gun control. 

Debates on Carrie Chapmen Catt Hall and other respective leaders in the community. 

Debates on the management of COVID-19 on every societal level possible. 

I want you to disagree with me. I want you to criticize me. I want to hear your voice. 

I restate my claim: journalism is the best public service. I get to see the world and its people in an infinite number of angles. 

While it’s obviously clear how much I love news, I hope you can see the beauty in it, too. Engage with the news on News Engagement Day. Read a column you disagree with. Rip it to shreds. Or change your opinion. It’s there to serve you, after all.