If anything, voting makes me a better journalist.

Re-blogged from my advanced reporting class blog.

One of the problems of living with all journalism majors is that we take our civic responsibilities seriously. Very seriously.

Right now, in fact, two of my roommates and I are sitting at our kitchen table filling out our absentee ballots, alternating looks at local newspaper endorsements with confused calls home to our parents about ballot language and absentee voting procedure.

Having missed being old enough to vote in the 2008 presidential by a couple weeks and not having my act together in enough time to vote absentee in 2010, this is the first time I’ve actually exercised my right to vote for public office. And I’m pretty damn excited.

But in the back of my mind, I can’t help but think of stories I’ve heard throughout school here about journalists who make the express decision not to vote — that it would somehow compromise their work to take part in an election and make a choice.

As much as I agree that openly flaunting my politics, especially online, could cause a perceived bias of me and what I report, I can’t imagine that voting in the privacy of my own home would do anything to make others think I’m an unfit journalist. I think it’s a credit to my generation and my profession that I engage in civic life and make time to be educated about those representing me and my country.

I also can’t imagine asking anyone to give up the chance to vote, no matter their occupation. Even the president gets to vote for president. We, as journalists, spend so much time trying to engage with our communities and learn about what needs they have, that it seems ridiculous to sit out during one of the few times we could actually affect change.

Every year we work crazy hours to put out voters guides and ballot information so others can be informed enough to vote, why not expect and encourage the same of ourselves?

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