My name is Austin Anderson and I am a journalist from Iowa.

At 17, I was honored to be named the 2015 Writer of the Year for the state of Iowa by the IHSPA, as well as receive 13 awards from the Iowa High School Press Association for my print and video stories. At 18, I was the first freshman in memory to be named assistant sports editor of the Iowa State Daily. At 19, I was a finalist for a Hearst Award, finishing sixth in the country for the “Pulitzer Prize of college journalism” and placed second in the nation in the Columbia Scholastic Press Association “personality profile” category. Before I left my teens, I took off to spend my summer in Dublin, Ireland where I had an internship with Ireland’s leading multicultural newspaper, Metro Eireann.

I have been fortunate to have an opportunity to cover things that I love, sports and people, but also write stories that carry weight and impact in my community. I could not have done it without the support of my high school adviser Brian Winkel, my college adviser Mark Witherspoon, my editors, my reporters, my family, friends and anyone who has ever read anything I have written.

Now, as a 20-year-old with the countdown to graduation beating faster and faster, I would be foolish not to have at least a little concern with the future of journalism. Leading entities in the sports journalism industry have had to trim staffs and prepare for the future. I’ve read the warning words of some of my idols. “If you are going into sports journalism, make sure you have a backup plan.” I do have a backup plan. My backup plan for print journalism is broadcast journalism. My backup plan for that is writing stories as an author. My backup plan after that? Maybe backpack across the world, working minimum wage jobs during the day and writing poems at night.

In other words, I don’t truly have a back up plan if journalism implodes and becomes obsolete. I have faith in the power of a story. I have faith in the impact of a connection and relationships. I have faith in the truth. Stories will always be told, sports will always be played and tough questions will always need to be asked. Maybe I’m on to something. Maybe I’m just a naive 20-year-old kid that hasn’t experienced the real world.

I guess I’ll just have to wait to find out for myself, and maybe that’s the beauty of it.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below or send me an email at ByAustinAnderson@gmail.com