I left my office desk with the web pages left in the history tab — from Facebook pages, fantasies and pages that tried to look deeper into the story, the fingerprints left on the keyboard keys, the daily sound of the time card clicking inside the Bundy clock, the pizza treats from generous office mates, the voices of the editors, the voice of Jessica Sanchez every Thursday and Friday morning, and the official website of GMA News Online itself…
These I would never forget from the days of my internship period. GMA News Online was not actually the company I would fall into. I preferred working in a magazine firm or in a company specializing in television production. I was so glad when GMA News Online called me up to inform me about my internship interview.
But there are so much things that I would not forget from my internship experience more than the motherly (or fatherly) love of my editors. I would have to admit I learned a lot.
Several people say fresh graduates or students who step onto the field of real work (world) are idealists. But a month in a news organization would probably erase the idealism students have. Working with GMA News Online is not about idealism, but learning the true meaning of journalism – being fair, balanced, responsible, and accurate. The common values a journalism student has learned in a class called Ethics.
These values are intertwined that achieving one may put another to a risk. One day, I was tasked to write a story filed under the news site’s business section. It was a story about the amount of oil and natural gas reserves in the Malampaya Gas Field, a gas field found near the disputed Spratly Islands. I was writing the lead when I sifted through the pages of other news sites which have reported about the story first. The news organization’s key now lies in my hands and the decision is whether to rush the publication of the story or make it comprehensive for the readers to understand. I chose the latter.
Writing the story involved digesting the numerous figures and percentages within the sources. It involved extracting the most important facts and details. I noticed how other news organizations (I’m saying sincerely, not just to uplift GMA News Online) reported the story. The facts and figures were carelessly enumerated, and it was number-heavy.
The moment I submitted the story to my editor, I came to realize that at times, the real game is not about speed, not about how fast you have uploaded the story, but rather on being comprehensive and accurate. It is by this time that we have conveyed the message clearly to the readers.
Of course, I’m saying these statements minus the idealism. 🙂 I have learned to give up some idealism when I started working with the news organization.
The moment I opened my email account, I was welcomed by the slugs submitted by the editor of the Pinoy Abroad page of GMA News Online. I could remember my first story: a story about a Pinoy making a name in the international scene. Another thing I’ve learned while working with GMA News Online was Filipino pride. Most news organizations fail to look at the bright side of reporting. There were a lot of stories I’ve found over the web that exemplifies the achievements of Filipinos worldwide – from Francis Libiran’s gown worn by the contestants of America’s Next Top Mode, Rajo Laurel’s gown worn by Tyra Banks herself, to Fil-Am actress Anna Maria Perez de Tagle who starred in Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana.
That despite all the negative reports circling the Philippines, there is an equal array of good news that makes us more proud of being a Filipino.
I’ve also written inspiring stories that sought to help cultural minorities such as the Aeta and the story moved me a lot. It was about an Aeta community near Mount Pinatubo seeking for the help of the government for rehabilitation, food aid, and health care. I was able to talk to a nun who runs the rehabilitation center and one could really feel her passion to her work.
But more than the stress, more than the telephone calls, and behind every story is the friendship between the people in the news room. It may not be the noisiest newsroom, the fiercest newsroom, or the most active one. Most of the time, the newsroom was quiet with only the sound of keyboard keys pressed and mouse clicks heard.
I must admit I never appreciated the value and the plot of the impeachment trial until every afternoon in the newsroom with people glued on their seats (or not, as they would jolt from their seats with the voice of Miriam Santiago) watching the trial. Now, I am waiting for Chief Justice Corona in the witness stand tomorrow as eager as waiting for Jessica Sanchez’s performance or waiting for the Miss Universe pageant.
Three of my articles (which I am very proud of) were included in the “Staff Favorites.” “Staff Favorites” is a segment in a twice-a-month staff meeting headed by our editor-in-chief Howie Severino where articles written within the past two weeks are handpicked by some staff members as the best-written stories among the rest of the articles.
My article on Tony De Zuniga, the day it was announced that he suffered from stroke was my first story chosen as a staff favorite. The next two were my story on the Aeta community and my story on Harvy Santos, a Pinoy miller who won a contest in United Kingdom.
If you want to read all my articles published by GMA News Online, log on to http://www.gmanews.tv and search for my name on the search tab: Jon Lindley Agustin.