Stephen Torres, 16, wants to be a journalist because he wants to write about troubling social issues.
That’s why he’s writing for his school newspaper at Naugatuck High School and says he wants to contribute to social change. For example, he says he was inspired to write about his school’s Gay Straight Alliance after a friend of his was bullied while transitioning from male to female.
“I was on the Internet, hearing all of these social issues about gay rights [and] racism and I was like, why isn’t anyone doing anything. What can I do?’’ he said. “I want to be a part of these conversations.”
He began his pursuit of a journalism career in the summer before his sophomore year. He said he was struggling with anxiety and was introverted and anti-social, but he has found that reporting has helped him overcome these feelings as he feels more comfortable talking to people.
He said he and his classmates have been supportive of their new journalism teacher.
“She was new to the class material, so we [were] all working with her,’’ he said. “We were learning together.”
Torres said his mother, Sandra Diaz, was skeptical that he would earn enough money as a journalist and be financially secure. When he first started reporting, he said he wrote a lot of one-sided and opinionated stories and now, he is trying to be unbiased.
Torres, who has two sisters, is very involved in social media and he hopes that journalism will broaden the horizons of the people he knows.
“Everyone in Naugatuck makes it seem as if the outside world doesn’t matter. They only care about Naugatuck,’’ he said. “This is why I want to write…[to show people] an open mind on what the outside world is like.”
Stephen Torres is a student at Naugatuck High School.