In early November, Holly Wise, VoiceBox Media founder and CEO, met with students at Murray State University, her alma mater, via Google Hangouts, to explain the recent phenomenon of solutions journalism and share pearls of wisdom about playing an active role in the nonprofit sector.
“Solutions journalism is the idea that we’re taking all of our critical analysis skill sets and we’re applying them to the social sector,” Wise said.
Wise said this discipline is valuable because as a whole, journalism tends to focus only on hard-hitting, late-breaking news.
“There isn’t a lot of coverage given to what citizens are doing in their communities,” she said.
In her final two presentations, Wise shared a video she created in November 2013 when she traveled to Bora, Ethiopia in an effort to increase awareness about the organization Health Gives Hope, which provides much-needed medical attention to the area.
“I ended up going with them for 10 days and it was amazing,” Wise said.
Wise said the trip never would have happened if she had been unwilling to be open and transparent about her vision for VoiceBox Media and encouraged students to see that as a lesson to apply to their own lives.
“Don’t be afraid to tell people about what you’re doing and what your idea is,” she said. “It can be really scary to put an idea out there but you never know what might happen, and it might be the idea that people are waiting for.”
At the conclusion of her presentations, Wise took questions from students.
“What made you decide to be a journalist?” asked one student.
“It was the trip that I took to Romania when I was 19,” Wise said. “I volunteered at an orphanage there and when I came home I had all of these stories to tell and no one really wanted to listen to me. I didn’t have the platform to be able to tell what happened. So that’s really what put me on the path to journalism is to be able to tell those stories- be able to have that power. There’s a lot of power that comes in our words and the stories that we choose to tell.”
Aside from hearing about everything Wise had achieved, students also wanted to know what areas of her endeavors she felt could use improvement.
“What is something you haven’t done yet with your organization that you would like to?” asked another student.
Wise said she wanted to expand to more universities. “I’m envisioning having these clusters of people who are a part of our movement on different college campuses across the United States and eventually around the world who are storytelling with us,” she said.
Wise encouraged those interested in joining the Murray State intern team to visit http://thevoiceboxmedia.org/intern-at-vbm/.