Telling Stories of Faith

Praying at sunrise

Praying at sunrise – a photo featured on the “Second Life” site. 

A lot of people seem to think that young adults don’t care about religion. This may be true for some, but it’s been my experience that young people find faith in the most unusual places. Sometimes they stumble across it by going to church with a friend. Sometimes something happens in their life that motivates them to strengthen their faith. Or, sometimes, they just want to know what this word “religion” is all about.

Anyone who thinks faith among young people is dead should visit “Second Life” (, a Web site created by journalism graduate students at the University of California, Berkley. I heard about this site from a faculty member at Poynter, who referenced it in one of his columns. The site explores God, sex and family, and details the experiences of people’s faith. The homepage features people’s postings about religion, as well Flickr photos and videos of journalists talking about their faith.

There’s also a “moral compass” on the site, in which viewers can learn how different religions view issues related to morality and sex. Some of the questions include: “Can women serve as clergy or pastors in your church?” “What is your teaching on premarital sex?” “Can gays and lesbians marry or have ‘holy union’ ceremonies in your faith?”

“Second Life” is a site worth visiting, not just for its content, but for the talent of the journalists who put it together.

What are your thoughts about “Second Life”?

Poynter Institute: Summer Fellowship for Young Journalists

Summer fellows

Group shot of summer fellows and faculty.

The fellowship was, by far, one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The fellows and faculty taught me that storytelling comes in all shapes and sizes. Telling stories isn’t just about writing articles – it’s about being conscious observers and capturing moments through the written word and photography. It’s about gathering the sounds of stories through audio. It’s about recording life on video, and visualizing the overall package through design and layout.

We covered lots of stories on our beats. Perhaps the greatest story of all, though, was that of our journey together as young journalists. We were all so different, yet journalism bound us together, and still does.  

Our collaboration, hard work and incredible talent made for a productive six weeks. And our senses of humor, openess, and sincerity made us not just a team of journalists, but a group of friends that I will never forget. Thanks, fellow fellows, for showing me that the future of journalism is in good hands.