The Day a Story about Chewing Gum Changed My Life

It wasn't until my senior year of high school I realized I wanted to be a journalist.

Up to that point, my view of news, reporting and journalists was largely dictated by what I saw on the local television station and national outlets (the latter usually hummed with a constant bickering over political issues and moral dilemmas facing society).

But, as a senior in high school and later as a journalism student in college, I learned how to tell stories.

Storytelling is the crux of humanity. From the earliest days of human history, we've been telling stories.

While much of my journalistic training helped me understand how to harness the power of storytelling to better explain difficult topics or experiences (criminal proceedings, political happenings and data reports), I discovered the power in telling the extraordinary stories of ordinary people.

This lesson really came home for me when in college, I interviewed a woman about her life long collection of different brands of chewing gum.

Her story captivated me and I loved spending an afternoon looking through her collection. It's hard to explain how I felt that day, since Sarah's life or collection likely wasn't going to change the world. But, her story did change me.

After I graduated, I moved on to another news station and told stories about the issues around me and in the community. Not every story was hard hitting, but none of them quite captured the feeling I felt when I told the story about Sarah and her gum collection.

You might say I've been chasing that feeling ever since, and I think I've found it again.

Which is why I've left the newsroom and am stepping back into my home office - to tell stories like Sarah's again.

It's been said journalists are the gatekeepers of history, but I'd like to think myself more as tour guide.

The stories are all there waiting, we just have to be willing to tell them.


© 2020 by Root Story Studios.

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Sydney Decker

Georgetown, Texas


Tel: (512) 686 - 6945