Take pride in journalism

Sarah Mountain

Chief Photographer 

Not to be dramatic or anything, but anyone who knows me knows I love a dramatic exit. This newspaper has been an incredibly important part of my time at Troy, and I know for a fact I would not be the same without it.

Two years ago, I was a sophomore education major who was in a program she didn’t love and career aspirations outside of my field of study. I just happened to be lucky enough to work with Pradyot Sharma, the editor-in-chief of the Tropolitan at the time.

When I told him it was my dream to one day work for National Geographic, he asked me why I wasn’t majoring in the thing I needed to get me there. Once we agreed that it was ridiculous not to pursue what I loved, he helped me get into writing for the Trop.

My very first assignment was a letter to the editor to be published in the opinion section as a response to a previous article regarding housing visitation policy. It was my first piece of published writing, and after that paper came out, I already felt closer to writing than I ever did teaching.

I liked that I had the ability to write things that would provide an educated insight to other people, and I soon met with Robbyn Taylor and changed my major to multimedia journalism.

She listened to me talk about my big dreams of wanting to be a travelling writer and photographer for National Geographic and immediately set out to help me achieve everything I wanted. She set me up as a weekly writer for the Trop and helped me move upward until I reached my current position as Chief Photographer.

Knowing I had someone in my corner who wanted to see me succeed made all the world of difference, and she helped me refine my skills in every aspect of journalism from the hard-hitting news pieces to the behind-the-scenes work. She was instrumental in helping me earn a summer internship with National Geographic that I was unfortunately unable to complete due to the pandemic.

Regardless, I owe Robbyn Taylor and the Trop an enormous debt of gratitude for seeing my potential and helping me become the best I could be. The people I have met through this job have not only gained me professional connections but also genuine friends that I know I could call if I ever needed help.

Being a journalist through the pandemic and changing roles at the paper was not without its challenges, but then again, when I signed up to take on this job, I had to have known that nothing about this profession would come easily. The news and media have a bad reputation in this country, and I look forward to helping rebuild this industry into something that people can trust in and be proud of.

I know Troy produces good and fair journalists and knowing who I have worked with in the last two years, I’m certain we’re headed into a better time with more people who have their hearts set on telling the truth and being a positive influence. I am proud to be a part of that change.

There is a lot of responsibility given to us as journalists that we cannot take lightly, and I encourage everyone who has an interest in this profession come to that realization as soon as possible. You must put integrity into every single piece you do, no matter if its groundbreaking or insignificant to you.

This organization is built to give you the support you need and train you up to get you where you want to go. I know that I have hope for the future because of what I’ve been able to do here, and without this job I would be far more terrified of entering the real world.

Take pride in everything you do here and don’t let anyone beat you down. Give this place as much as you can, and it will surely give it back.

Thank you to everyone who got me to this point, and all the luck to next year’s staff! I will be supporting you from Savannah.

All my love, Sarah.

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