The Woman Who Should be Every Female Journalist's Role Model

As an aspiring journalist living in the United States today, it’s hard to go even one day without recognizing the issues that we’re having with the freedom of the press. It surprised me to find out that the country of Colombia was having similar issues almost 17 years ago. A specific Colombian journalist, Consuelo Arújo, dealt with these issues and in the end, paid the ultimate price: her life. 

After dropping out of high school at the age of 15 to help support her family, Arújo learned much of her writing and journalism skills on her own. This is something that I admire about her, because she felt that her education was important enough to continue, despite no one being there to push her to do so.

I, too, had to push myself when it came to my education. My mother was a single parent who migrated from Colombia and spent most of her time working in to pay the bills, provide for her family and make sure that I had everything that I needed while growing up. This meant that my mother had little to no time to help me with my school work. If by chance she did have time, the fact that her English was not strong meant she couldn’t help me even if she really wanted to. Thus, I was left to push myself when it came to my education. I aim to be like Arújo, in the sense that no matter what obstacle comes my way, I want to have the tenacity and will to overcome it, even if there's no one there to help me. 

Arújo was a journalist who was well known for her devotion to her work and her passion for politics. Her first major job was writing an opinion column for a newspaper called El Espectador. She wrote for this column for about 22 years. The column’s main focus was allowing Arújo to express her opinions and thoughts on political matters in Colombia, including her opinions on the political corruptions in the country.

It was Arújo’s ability to lead, and her domineering mannerisms, that led her to acquire the nickname “La Cacina," or "the boss" in English. In addition to writing for a newspaper column for 22 years, Ajújo also wrote and reported for a newspaper called Noticiero. Her work was not limited to print work itself; she also brought her talents to radio work, and ended up working for RCN Radio and earned a spot as a radio host for her very own show called "La Cacica Contesta."

I’m a firm believer that the citizens of the United States need to know what is going on in our country in terms of political matters. I hope that my future career allows me to combine my passions for writing and politics, just like Arújo’s career did. One could argue that Arújo’s love for her country is what made her a dedicated writer, radio host, and is what eventually led to her death. In 2001, Arújo was kidnapped and shot in the head by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Many say that she was killed because she was the wife of Colombia’s attorney general, and because of her outspoken opinions. 

It is because Arújo was self-taught, which shows discipline and devotion, that Arújo was not afraid to speak her mind in a time where doing just that could -- and did -- get her killed. That courage, and the fact that Arújo loved the country of Colombia so much, is what makes her an incredible role model for journalists everywhere.