Laura Brickman is a multimedia journalist covering activism with current reporting for Elle Magazine and the BBC. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
What do I do best?
I’ve never shied from speaking truth to power, to the extent it’s a kind of personal tick. There have been many instances when I might have personally benefited from keeping my mouth shut, and I’ve spoken up anyways. I’ve learned while often not the easiest path, it’s one that creates respect, even grudging respect from others who have submitted to the same forces I insist on resisting. My greatest compliments when I was begrudgingly told I have integrity
What makes me the best version of myself?
I’m at my best when I remain connected to my larger motivations and sources of meaning. Taking the time to remind myself and recommit to my ideals through an abbreviated period of reflection - often that looks like reintegrating with a body of compassion sometimes becomes distorted by outrage at all that seems wrong, corrupt, unfair, and on and on.
While that outrage at wrongdoing can light a strong fire, I’ve found that fire in myself can easily destroy more than it fuels. Compassion is a much better motivator. And while both are based on seeing something wrong and KNOWING it’s wrong, outrage only fuels ego and dissension. Learning that the way a message is presented (ie, diplomacy) is often as important as the message itself is a lesson I’m still working to internalize. But I convinced that to that end, compassion is the essential element.
What are my aspirations?
My emphasis as a reporter is to maintain the social function of journalism, to cover stories that expose corruption and misuse of power or that bring light to activism that hasn’t reached a wide audience. And then also to stay true to a moral voice - to remain committed to an objectivity that doesn’t concede to convenient, faulty narratives. And then, the dream would be to have a series, with a budget and everything, at an outlet that trusts my work and remains committed to meaningful journalism.
My Biggest Success?
I consider one of my best decisions to be buying a plane ticket to Bismarck, North Dakota to go to the Standing Rock Pipeline protests. I didn’t have funding, sources, outlets to report for but knew something historic was happening and felt I needed to be there. That decision was my way in to outlets that I continue to report for, who all wanted footage from the camp but for the most part hadn’t sent reporters to cover it. Being able to offer that content really cheaply was such a huge moment for both developing relationships with editors, and maybe more importantly, to establish environmentalism and activism as my beat.
My Most Challenging Moment?
I think any reporter will tell you that staying committed meaningful career in journalism isn’t easy. The work is endangered, and it seems even within the field there are more outlets that sort of sell out (for lack of a better phrase) for clicks or advertisers than ones that consistently produce work of quality.
To say no to that, to false narratives, clickbait, or branded video, has meant saying no to a lot of work, which hasn’t also come with moments of doubt about whether it’s possible, or even worth it, to fight for the type of work that I believe is meaningful.
Look inside and you’ll find the truth.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
Amy Goodman. my journo-nerd-genius hero.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
My most magical places are Big Sur,, Prague, and Madison, WI
My Favorite Products/Objects?
I get excited when all my gear fits in a backpack - My Sony A7sii with lenses and mics. Plus a tent and sleeping bag and a monopod that doubles as a walking stick.
My Current Passions?
I’m obsessed with tennis and the endless game of finding free courts in NYC.