Years ago, when media wasn’t readily available at our fingertips, people would read the newspaper regularly to get updated on important information. Now more than ever, it comes from anywhere at anytime. This is due to the rise of social media and search engines making information easily accessible.

These stories aren’t always positive and it can become almost impossible to take a break from it all. However, when they do appear, it’s always amazing to read stories about people making a positive impact on their communities.

One of these people is Jakaria Burge, an aspiring African-American journalist at Columbia College Chicago and creator of the Let’s Talk, You Listen blog.

Having started her writing career as an upperclassman in high school, she credits her father for inspiring her to start a blog.

“I just honestly didn’t know where to start. My father, one night, told me to buy a domain and start a website,” Jakaria said about the birth of her blog.

Now in college, she's excited to bring her ideas to life on her blog. The blog is comprised of three different segments: Underground Brown, Unplanned Adventures, and The Soup On Sports.

The blog was born to highlight voices

Although grateful to begin summer vacation, Jakaria credits challenging writing classes at Columbia College Chicago for preparing her to go into the competitive field of journalism. Since starting her journalism journey at Columbia, she’s enjoyed being able to put her own face to her words and having more creative control over the work she produces.

“The fact that Columbia actually puts us out in the field, it shows us how it’s truly going to be, while also making us better writers, interviewers, and it builds our confidence moving forward as journalists,” she said of her time at Columbia College.

Being a writer with a message is important to her, and it’s evident in the way the blog highlights the talent in the black community.

She now wants to expand it to include other communities while still emphasizing the black community.

Out of all these stories that she’s published on her blog and all those people she had a chance to get to know, her most memorable story is unique in that it crosses national boundaries. It’s about living as a Black Woman under Canadian societal standards.

“It shows what it’s like for a black woman in Canada versus here. It’s interesting to read the differences and things she went through as a black woman in Canada,” Jakaria explained.

For anyone immigrating to a new country, balancing assimilation and maintaining your original identity is a delicate balance. Jakaria’s interviewee herself had to learn how to balance what she knew about being black in the Caribbean community and what she learned about being black in the Canadian community.

The highs and lows of the journey

Still under construction, Jakaria’s blog is showing potential in its diversity of topics. Other covered topics, which will soon be found under different segments include coverage of the Cubs lifting their longstanding curse and winning the world series, young artists, and stories that spotlight other people’s cultures similar to the one mentioned above.

Not only are these stories relatable to others, but they are also reflective of Jakaria. From her love of sports and sports coverage to her passion for the arts. Her stories give insight to what’s happening in the world around us while letting us get to know Jakaria as a writer starting on her journey.

Jakaria's writing journey has had many highlights, one of them the aforementioned Canadian interview, but it hasn’t been without challenges. She’s continuously learning how to balance her views with being able to tell a story objectively.

“It’s my job to make sure I share their message or story and to share it truthfully,” Jakaria stated about the importance of journalism.

She avoids trying to change people’s stories to fit societal standards. However, she still advises writers to find their own voice and to have confidence as they pursue their dreams.