Female Harvard Student Explains ‘Why I Can’t Be an Investigative Journalist’ in Crimson Op-Ed

Harvard University student Bernadette Lim is having second thoughts about pursuing a career as an investigative journalist.

In an op-ed for The Harvard Crimson, Lim explains that the investigative gig replaced her former dream job — “professional Italian food taste tester” — this past summer while reading “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women.”

Yet, this sudden desire to educate and the change the world “through the power of storytelling” has been tempered by roadblocks she contends are gender-specific — “including the fear of sexual assault, susceptibility to subordinate gender norms and lack of mentorship and guidance.”

As Lim writes in her Crimson piece, headlined “Why I Can’t Be an Investigative Journalist,” “These worries are real. The average woman is not as strong as the average man, leaving women inherently more vulnerable to physical harm — the journalism industry fails to accommodate this truth. By failing to provide adequate protection for female journalists, especially when they’re covering stories in dangerous sites abroad, news outlets discourage women from participating.”

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Yet, along with the internal doubts this type of discouragement has bred within her, Lim also views it as a simultaneous catalyst to step up.

“My greatest motivation to become an investigative journalist is rooted in my hopes to provide my perspective — a female perspective — in news coverage, story selection and government policy,” she argues. “In an industry that has so often been viewed through a male lens, maybe all it takes is the involvement of more women in order to ignite changes in the industry and provide more adequate protection for female journalists. Maybe all it takes is an acknowledgement of a difficult reality and an unwavering persistence to passionately pursue a career that has been attained by few, yet aspired by so many. Maybe the solution is simple: me.”

What do you think?

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