Anyone who has a set of skills and passion can write. But not everyone can have a chance to have a platform for their stories to be read and heard. I consider myself fortunate enough to belong to the latter.
Eight months ago, I was an enthusiastic Communication and Media Studies student at the UP Visayas, trying to impress my professor with articles that had either been rejected once or revised at least three times. I needed a clean article so I could send it to one of the local media outfits as this was a requirement for my course. After cycles of editing, my professor finally approved the article and I immediately sent it out to the various media organizations in Palawan, optimistic that my article would appear in at least one of those publications.
Upon submission of my work, I did not only get a publication of my article, but also an invitation to become an intern/trainee. I excitedly accepted, despite my tough schedule in school. I knew that opportunities like this don’t always come by.
I did not have too many expectations about being on the beat. I was even sort of confident my experience in the campus press that began at age 9 in my 4th Grade would carry me through. But working alongside older and more experienced journalists jolted me to look again at my own set of skills. I found myself deciding whether I should just sit back and yield to my more experienced colleagues.
But then, I was reminded that a good journalist must be fearless. Long story short, I took on the challenge. “Make it work”-this favorite phrase of one of my journalism professors rang in my head.
It is not easy juggling academics and works. My load as a trainee was sometimes more tedious than my home works and deliverables as a student. But it was all worth it, as I always saw to it that in everything I did in this internship, I learned something.
More than the experience the internship has provided me, I am most proud of are the things I have brought to the table. I was able to create stories out of people’s raw experiences, wrote articles from and for the people in the grassroots, gave voice to the sectors who need to be recognized, and did my share as a vanguard of truth.
The challenges that accompanied my internship did not overshadow my desire to pursue writing and reporting. It was actually through these challenges that I was able to see why it is indeed important for youth like me to write and be heard.
The press, being the fourth estate, must be critical and independent and contribute to keeping the democracy alive. I learned to value that more, seeing how press freedom and the media are being attacked even by the government.
There’s this quote from a protest placard that circulated on the Internet after the shutdown of ABS-CBN –“First they came for the journalists, we don’t know what happened next”. If journalists like us are silenced, then who would tell the truth to the world?
I have become more convinced that the world needs more journalists as truth-tellers. We need the youth’s voices on issues that matter to society. Among everyone, we are the ones who are loud, energetic, and influential.
I also realized that there are many others of my age who have the skills yet didn’t get the breaks that came my way. Maybe the one reading this is that someone. Know from a fellow young journalist to another that I appreciate you and your dedication to pursue your passion. As a young journalist, I still have much to learn. I am still far from being an accomplished journalist, but I know that I need to “just write, and write justly.”