Column: Yes, I’m crying while writing this

By Valentina Pucarelli, Photojournalist

I got hired as a photojournalist for the Chronicle after getting rejected by two other on-campus jobs and having taken not one journalism class.

I have never sweated so much during a job interview, so thank God it was through Zoom.

I have always loved documentary photography and film, which is why I transferred to Columbia to major in interdisciplinary documentary, but I had never thought of myself as a journalist.

I never considered myself a good writer either, especially in English, but I did have things to say, stories I wanted to tell, people I wanted to highlight and topics I wanted to raise awareness on.

I thought I was just going to be taking photographs and video, but the Chronicle gave me a platform. This newspaper helped me discover and develop my voice, and best of all, it gave me a community, a safe space, to find myself and learn from my co-workers.

After being stuck in Argentina for almost a year during 2020, going crazy about everything that was happening in the world, not really knowing what to do about it, and arguing with my differently-minded family a lot, the Chronicle pulled me out of my creative block and pushed me to create stories about all those topics, people and movements I cared so much about but didn’t know how to support before.

Becoming a journalist, telling people’s stories and covering justice-seeking movements has been my drop of water in the ocean toward the effort to make the world a little bit better — I like to think so, at least.

Being able to give a space for other voices that are often not heard in media has been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, and I’m eternally grateful to everyone who let me do it.

I made connections with activists, community organizers, teachers, artists, city officials, students, entrepreneurs and more. That is probably the best part of this job.

This experience has been intense, emotional, and frustrating at times, too — but definitely worth it.

I’m looking forward to continuing to tell stories, highlighting people trying to make the world better and growing my community.

I want to give a special shout out to Camilla Forte, K’Von Jackson, Zac Clingenpeel, Mari Devereaux, Kendall Polidori, Noah Jennings, Camryn Cutinello, Anna Busalacchi, Summer Hoagland-Abernathy, Amina Sergazina, Curtis Lawrence and Travis Truitt for their patience, guidance and support. I admire each and every one of these people, as well as everyone else I have crossed paths with at the Chronicle. I would not be who I am today without them.

Because of the Chronicle I have a new passion, new skills, new goals, new ideas and new friends, so thank you, and, I guess, goodbye for now.