HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns

June 4, 2007

Meet Karrah, aka ‘Tarrak’

“Meet Karrah, she’s the new intern in the Delano office.”


“No, it’s with a ‘K!’”

“Oh, Tarrak, I see.”

“You know that’s what we’re gonna call you now, right?”

I’m pretty used to people misspelling, mishearing, and mispronouncing my name, but Tarrak – that’s the most original by far.

It was my first staff meeting with the whole Herald Journal crew out in Winsted, and this was the impression I left on them. Good or bad? You be the judge.

So, I was told to write a column, and you would think that after many grueling years of writing countless term papers in high school and college, that it would be easy to do this, that I’d be able use my college experience and whip up an eloquent article.

No, not really.

I want to make a lasting and good first impression, I can’t just ramble on page after page about the socioeconomic blah ba blah in the blah ba blah. Well I could, but who would read it, and where would I put my thesis statement?

I want to show what I’ve got. I mean, I am spending all that money at the University of Minnesota to pursue a degree in photojournalism, I should have something to offer, right?

When I started at the U of M, I questioned if this was what I really wanted to do, pursue a degree in journalism. The media, specifically news reporting, is losing its credibility lately.

Take the evening news for example. We heard more about Britney Spears’ dramatic, life-changing rehab incident and her claim to temporary insanity than we heard about local men and women who served our country in Iraq, and have to struggle with reintegrating into a civilian lifestyle.

It seems to me that a soldier returning safely from Iraq is much more newsworthy than some pop singer shaving her head to make a statement.

I wondered if this was where I wanted to take my life, to go into an industry that is being questioned. What happened to reporting authentic news with information pertinent to the people the reporters represent?

Seems like anyone who can buy, download, or illegally “own” Photoshop can be a photojournalist these days. Professional or amateur, it doesn’t matter. Anyone can make their photographs into stories, by creating a person or place to look differently than it ever was.

So why would I want to devote my life to this sort of career?

Because the ethics of journalism do still matter. Because as a photojournalist, you have a unique opportunity to meet people who can change the lens through which you view life, and in turn, you can reach others by sharing this information. Because people are my passion.

Photojournalism is capable of transforming this consumerism and materialistic-based society by presenting real people, with real stories.

Everyone out there has a story to tell; you do not have to be Anna Nicole Smith to be front page material. A photograph should capture reality in order to tell a story, it should not be an edited image that creates a false reality.

Old and young alike, we’re all on this same journey: life, with a beginning and an end – it’s that middle part that’s worth exploring, and it will be my personal goal to bring those stories to the light, allowing others to expand and transform the lens through which life is viewed.

So I decided to take a leap, get my feet wet, and intern for the Delano Herald Journal, where they uphold the proper ethics of journalism, and report the truth, even if they did call me Tarrak.

Keep an eye out. Tarrak is new to the scene, ready to go. And, who knows, maybe you’ll look at life a little differently now?