On Day 1, our first task was naming our project. Just like I feared, I immediately clammed up. What am I supposed to do—come up with ideas? Like a real journalist? After a long silence, my mentor Cheryl cocked her head to the side and said, “Can I offer an observation? You really live in your head.” Guilty.
Kate talked a lot in our interview about how hard she’s worked to trust herself. I thought about it often while structuring my story, especially while cutting material that struck me deeply (as our editor Celeste called it, “killing puppies”). I thought about it as I struggled to sever my personal experience with OCD from the professional experience of reporting on it. Ultimately, I realized that I had to trust my audience to do the interpreting for themselves. My job was not to tell my audience what to think—it was to tell them what happened. In 2018, the idea feels both tired and revolutionary. This week, my mentors showed me why we can’t ever let it go.