Hearing the Silent


Journalism, a word more familiarly associated with articles and reports, when ironically it’s more so to do with the actual word itself, journaling. Journaling allows people to have comfort in putting writing to paper by detailing stories with meaning and purpose. It allows the weak to be strong, things of unimportance to have meaning, and the silent to be heard. Throughout history, there have been numerous examples of events occurring without an understanding of their origins or with major holes in the context as to why this event occurs. This is why journalism matters. It allows people to dig up hidden knowledge and share their discoveries with the public. Phil Gianficaro, multiple state and national award-winning columnist for Gannett Media in PA and NJ for the Intelligencer and current Bucks County Courier Times and Burlington County Times writer, follows this philosophy. Throughout his career, he covered many morally empowering subjects including the Holocaust survivors and the victims of Bill Cosby. These are the stories of the silent. Stories of victims rendered powerless at the hands of other humans. These are the stories that deserve a voice, that deserve to be discussed amongst one another.

Phil Gianficaro dedicates his life to exploring opportunities to find stories that deserve a voice and that deserve to be shared. Stories with empowering truths about the reality of society allow people to be less ignorant of the world around them. In reference to the earlier mentioned Holocaust survivor, Phil said “I asked the woman of her family’s whereabouts, and she slammed her fist into the table and said ‘dead’. She was the only survivor.” Although as Americans we understand the severity of cruelty that occurred during the Holocaust, we forget that those same individuals that suffered also possibly survived to see these same practices of genocide be used in different regions of the world over 60 years later. With journalism, these bleak periods in history to the younger generations allow for a first-hand experience to envision reality as it was back then. It would allow for a greater understanding of sensitive topics, which people can use to educate themselves and change their lives to better mitigate cruelties.

“You never know the type of impact a story makes on someone,” Gianficaro said after discussing the story of a high school football star that made a costly mistake that lost his team the game. Ten years after writing an article for this star football player, the football player met Gianficaro in a bar to thank him for his writing of his article claiming that it inspired him to remain motivated through tough times.  Journalism matters not for the reports or the articles, but for the meaning or purpose behind the stories. Journalism helps to educate us, show emotion, and empower our words. “It allows people to hear the stories that need to be told” stated Gianficaro. History proves through journalism that any knowledge is attainable since people don’t have to fret about speaking about controversial topics. It gives power to the people and a voice to the silent.