For ten days and nights straight, I have been working at a major newsroom here in the Philippines. With the adrenaline that rushes every minute ticking too close to the deadline, I come face-to-face with a side of journalism I am yet to unravel.
I entered journalism school aching to be a writer. I dreamed to live a life filled with words to write, to say, and to read. Admittedly, I stepped into j-school not fully understanding the difference between creative writing and journalism, or its similarities and overlaps. After five years of sleepless nights and caffeine in my system, today I pride myself of understanding not just what, but why journalism is–and what it is for.
But the beauty of journalism is that the learning never stops.
I think one of the most difficult, yet often underrated, transitions in life is the period of moving from university to the work force. The pressure to make life decisions comes crashing in, like a deadline set for us to beat; decisions to quickly make and paths to choose. We’ve been cradled by school life for more than half of our existence, that once we step out to the so-called “real life,” we become exposed to our uncertainties. As many millenials would say, “adulting” is hard.
I came out of j-school simply wanting to get out there and tell stories. Stories of people, of places–a journey that I hope can also help me find myself. I admit that everyday I am unsure, almost frightened, of what lies ahead. I am scared of falling into a routine, or staying too much in my comfort zone, or not being able to grow and stretch out as I promised myself I would.
Today, I find myself in the newsroom of a major daily broadsheet. I work almost without rest, starting at hours when people would usually end their day. I work for a print publication, still sticking close to traditional ways of how we did the news. Pens and paper flying around. Technology makes some work easier and more accessible, but it is still the people that make the magic happen.
And that’s what really happens: magic. Except that now, I understand more than ever that a lot of hard work, sacrifice, and passion takes to get there. I see the people who have labored over the years–the gatekeepers, as they are called–work their way through the wrap-up of the day for someone to consume it first thing in the morning.
Coming close to the end of my college years, I never thought that I would work at a desk (at least, not so soon), but here I am, furiously typing away, editing, reading, editing, checking, working at the sidelines and in the bleachers. The constant churning of the dot matrix printer keeps us in place. News is coming, and it’s coming fast.
History unfolds fast when you are in a newsroom.
When you work on an edition for a newspaper, you are almost always assured that there is a tomorrow. More often than not, you welcome tomorrow at your desk. The irony is still you don’t know what tomorrow brings.
I am still in the stage of transition. It’s not as hard as I thought it would be, maybe because I have not lost sight of goals I set for myself. I hope I never will. Today, ten days and nights in, I welcome this new chapter in my life. It may not be the fastest route, but I am learning. Everyday.
(Views expressed on this post or on this blog are all mine, and does not reflect my employer’s views in any way.)