New opinion editor hopes job will be search for potential in words

Kyle Hightower

It wasn’t until my first collegiate newspaper internship three years ago that I truly saw the good that newspapers can do.

I had gathered facts, quotes and written piece after piece of copy, but it wasn’t until I found myself covering the tragic death of a little girl in an equestrian event that I saw just how newspapers could touch lives.

The sight of little Alexandra being thrown and then pinned underneath the weight of a half ton horse was frightening to onlookers that day. But not as much as watching her lay in the dirt for more than an hour waiting on proper medical care since no ambulances were on site to help.

I tried my best to tell her story while petrified parents put as much pressure on the supervising horse show committees as they could. But it wasn’t until the newspaper I was interning for started putting its editorial resources to use that the horse show committee seriously looked at changing its rules regarding medical personnel at its shows.

For the first time I saw that words could have teeth and take meaningful bites out of unjust and impractical situations.

Though there won’t always be a case like Alexandra’s to fight on a daily basis, just knowing that you are standing guard over that power – should it be needed – is something special. And at an institute of higher learning such as this, that power is all the more special as the words that come out of this paper could potentially impact the educational futures of many current and future classes to walk the Hill.

So here I sit, the newest guardian over that potential as Herald opinion editor. The line sometimes between good potential and bad potential is as thin as onion skin and maybe twice as potent.

I only hope that I can learn as much from the people and situations that I write about this semester as I did three years ago from a little girl crying from beyond this place for somebody to hear her voice and her potential.

Kyle Hightower is a senior print journalism major from Paducah.

The opinions expressed in this commentary do not represent the opinions of the Herald or the university.