I never knew during my ten years of working 60 hour weeks, missing holidays and special events with loved ones, and earning less than many people realize made me an enemy of the American people.
Never did I know that digging for stories that make a difference in others’ lives, uncovering public corruption and abuses of power, and shining a light on matters of public safety made me a danger to my country.
I never knew exposing cases of fraud that cost good people everything, asking officials to be accountable for their actions, and providing a platform for communities to discuss the issues that mattered most made me such a threat.
But let me tell you what I did know.
I knew making sacrifices and straining my personal relationships was easier when I believed my work mattered, that working with brilliant and caring coworkers made me a smarter person, and that succeeding meant helping and educating my community.
There’s one more thing I knew, too.
I knew the first step power-hungry, authoritarian regimes take to consolidate power is to undermine, delegitimize, and control the press—for the press is not a danger to the people, but to those who wish to manipulate them.