Reflections on “Scientists and fishermen wrangle with uncertain future of Maine’s lobster fishing industry”

I learned to be true to myself and embrace the truth in reporting.

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Lauren’s article was published on MSN News on August 19, 2019

I have been passionate about journalism throughout high school. I cannot keep track of how many articles I have written. I have exposed flaws in my school’s curriculum, interviewed international companies, won prestigious awards, and yet nothing truly compares to the experience I had writing my most recent article for iGeneration Youth.

My article, titled “Scientists and fishermen wrangle with uncertain future of Maine’s lobster fishing industry,” was born at an environmental journalism workshop hosted by InsideClimate News in Bar Harbor, Maine. To give context, one must understand the majesty of this little coastal town. I have traveled all over the world and Bar Harbor possesses a place in my heart like no other. Bar Harbor is not quaint. It is a bustling tourist town in the summer, but it still retains an authenticity like no other. The people are honest and caring, and their connection to the natural world is refreshing. Nestled between Acadia National Park and Maine’s scenic coast, Bar Harbor is absolutely breathtaking. It was this combination between natural wonder and hardworking citizens that sparked my idea for my article.

Back at home in Missouri, I wrote a piece covering the potential of local farmers to be stewards of the environment. I found that people whose livelihoods rely on the land, or in Maine’s case, sea, had a unique perspective on conservation. After seeing this same duality present in Bar Harbor, I knew I had to explore the perspectives of local fisherman on environmental conservation. Initially, I had no idea what I was getting into. All I knew when pitching my piece was that I would talk to Maine’s lobsterman about climate change and see where the story took me. I could not be more happy with where I ended. 

Before I knew it, I was waking up at 4:00 am to meet a local lobsterman down by the harbor to go fishing for the day. By the end of the day, I was invited to meet his family. I had to decline, but the impression he and his crew made on me I will never forget. I learned how to see conservation from an entirely new lens. I had to leave behind my predispositions and romanticized viewpoint of sustainability to realize that its application comes in many different forms. One lobsterman I interviewed was also a graduate student researching lobster populations and was very concerned about climate change. The other did not trust scientists, but still worked to fish sustainably. I had to learn to understand that there are not just two extreme sides to the climate change debate. For Maine’s lobsterman, the factors at play are all over the map and there is no catch all solution. 

Beyond my perspective on sustainability, I learned the power of true, authentic journalism. Had I not made the utmost effort to find and understand my sources, my article could not have come together. I learned to be confident in my journalistic abilities and not to shy away from an ambitious topic. I learned to be true to myself and embrace the truth in reporting. Most of all, I learned to love journalism and its beauty with my full heart. 

This article was republished on MSN News on August 19, 2019.

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Scientists and fishermen wrangle with uncertain future of Maine’s lobster fishing industry

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