Passionate. Driven. Humble. These are the three words I would use to describe Saturday’s keynote speaker Michael Skolnik, a contributor to the website globalgrind.com.
Skolnik’s tireless commitment to making positive change in the world is inspiring and refreshing. Although he does not consider himself a reporter and has no formal journalism training or schooling, Skolnik writes moving stories on the lives of black kids and teenagers that have been killed, giving voice to the voiceless and recognition to the families of the deceased.
With the motto of: “Together, we can cure violence. One young person at a time”, Skolnik and his fellow staff have written over 750 articles on the deaths of black youths. In his battle for equality in recognition of suffering, Skolnik was responsible for bringing light and national attention to the death of Trayvon Martin.
Skolnik believes in the untraditional idea of reporting factual news with opinion. He also doesn’t plan on stopping in his quest of storytelling. His dedication to his cause was absolutely amazing. Additionally, Skolnik is incredibly humble about his successful career in media.
What impressed me the most about Skolnik was his ability to engage the audience. He transitioned from serious topics to humorous antidotes seamlessly and spoke with such genuine pain and perspective. I couldn’t tear my eyes or ears away.
Although my trip to New York and the CMANYC2014 conference was filled with amazing experiences and lessons, Skolnik’s keynote speech affected me the most and is something I know I will continue to look back on for years. His commitment to advocating for the underrepresented and love of storytelling struck a major chord with me and reminded me why I fell in love with journalism in the first place.
-Emily Neelon, Staff Reporter