Public Voices Fellow Christine Gallagher Kearney, on Coming Full Circle

christinegallagherkearney_portrait-28-e1350922466359I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the first day of The OpEd Project. I’m a journalism school drop-out. The mechanics are what got to me. I got stuck in the journalism triangle. So I decided that I needed to engage with my deeply academic side. The side where my passion comes out with a fury.

I took my first organizational and multicultural communication course and everything changed. I got to look critically at gender and communication. This was especially exciting to me because I have spent hours arguing with editors ―in my head―over word choice and perspective. “No, not again, another article about women’s careers in the lifestyle section?”

In the classroom, I finally got to engage with those editors, if only theoretically. The world opened up to me; I saw words written and spoken through a new lens. But, I could still feel the tug of an opinion on my lips and the buzz of arguments in my head. The OpEd haunted me.

I can honestly say that I have come full circle. I spent four years learning theory, reading articles, debating ideas and writing a thesis. Now, here I am, trying to write about women’s networks and their relevancy today. How do I take my academic writing down a few notches so that I can make my thoughts and ideas more accessible to a general audience?

Sitting in The OpEd Project last week took on a whole new meaning―I can apply my knowledge and expertise! What a relief.

Maybe that was the problem to begin with. I went at studying journalism backwards. I needed to build strength in my subject area in order to write about it. The journalism triangle may have trapped me before, but today I’m leveraging it to have my voice heard.

With my readjusted lens, I know for me, journalism is possible. I also know that life has a funny way of looping you back into a false start―just in time.

Christine Gallagher Kearney is Business Manager & President of DePaul Women’s Network. She works in the Office of Public Relations and Communications at DePaul University, where she acquired her MA. She is an OpEd Public Voices Fellow. 

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