You can imagine the disbelief on our faces when we received notifications Thursday afternoon that revealed a situation some thought was bound to happen; there was an impeachment inquiry being launched against Donald Trump. It wasn’t necessarily a surprise – some of us felt that an impeachment inquiry was near – but it still caused us to pause and reflect on the tumultuous presidency we’ve witnessed first-hand.
Trump’s presidency has seemed to be one of scandal after scandal, a turbulent few years clouded by the Mueller Report, illegal dealings, calls for impeachment and protests everywhere we look. It’s been a time defined by breaking news story after breaking news story. We’ve had front-row seats to an administration that’s been consistently under fire for its anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-LGBTQIA+ and increasingly relevant to us, anti-news rhetoric. We’ve watched as our government has sat idly by, we’ve read the countless racist tweets sent by our Commander-in-Chief. We’ve felt powerless to do anything to change the political environment we’re living in.
Whether the impeachment does or does not happen, the very fact that an impeachment inquiry is happening is history-making and we’re able to witness it ourselves.
The 2016 election was the first many of us had the opportunity to participate in. No matter who we voted for, it gave us the chance to exercise our civic duty for the first time in our lives.
Yet despite it, because of the rollercoaster of a presidency we’ve been subject to, it’s also a time in our lives that seems to be dominated by one controversy after the next. It feels like a week cannot go by without a new arrest, a firing of a cabinet member, a porn-star claiming she was bribed into silence. At times, we’ve felt defeated and helpless.
As a staff, we strive to report as unbiased as possible, regardless of our personal perspectives. We put our best foot forward, attempting to reach all audiences as far and as fair as possible. We believe that, in a time as contentious as this one, it’s the job of the news media and journalists to cover events in a fair and equitable light. Although that’s been hard at times – it seems that no matter what we say, we’re attacked from one side or the other – we remain committed to following the ethical practices we swore to embody when we started our jobs.
There’s an atmosphere of uncertainty lingering and just like everyone else, we aren’t really sure what is happening or what is going to happen in the future. It feels like one cataclysmic series of events after the next and it’s causing us ask ourselves: Is this the new precedent? Is this the bar for our voting generation? A generation defined by technology, a generation that has felt like their government isn’t holding themselves to the standard our founding fathers promised us.
Although we’re unsure what’s going to happen next, we have decided that we’re going to do our jobs as best as can. For us journalists, it’s our duty to cover the impeachment inquiry as fair and balanced as we can. As students, it’s our job to learn from what’s going on and hopefully be the generation that creates lasting change for future generations to come. We may feel powerless at times, but we need to remember that it’s our responsibility to approach any difficulty head-on, rather than stand idly by while the world is burning before our very eyes.
This impeachment inquiry is another reminder that we need to hold our elected officials to the standard they swore under oath to maintain. It’s a reminder that we, as journalists, must overcome the powerlessness we feel and do our job as ethically as we possibly can.