Day 17

My last day! Well I woke up today eager to get a copy of the Inquirer to check if my story was published. It was, but without my byline or tagline. That was really annoying. Later today I found out from Sir Marlon that the desk opted to run it without a tagline or byline since most of the information came from a press release. Well they had a point, but they disregarded the corroboration I did with the other information. Oh, well, I could not argue with the desk. Still that’s my story. (Smiles.)

Being my last day at work, I wrote only a feature story. I was actually pre-occupied with the blowout I and Rachel Miranda planned for the Makati City reporters. I also invited Sir Marlon Ramos but he came later in the evening because of his Manila beat. I finished my feature story quickly so that I could go to Makati and prepare for our blowout party.

The feature story was about the National Capital Region Police Office’s teaching program at Camp Bagong Diwa. The program covered Prep, Nursery and Kinder, and was open to everyone for free. It was realized with the help of the Ronald McDonald House Charities that focuses on improved literacy through donations of facilities and equipment.

Sir Marlon Ramos asked me to write the story when we were still covering the South Manila beat. The story was offered by NCRPO community relations Chief Supt. Rodelio Jocson who also pushed for the reopening of the program after the facilities got damaged in an explosion inside the camp.

While still at NCRPO, we interviewed the students who were mostly children of police officers. We also asked the teachers and the parents about their opinions on the program. The “Bahay Bulilit,” as it was called, was a great financial help to the parents and residents of the community. Most of those we interviewed pointed out that private schools would drain their savings so they opted to enroll their children in the free school inside NCRPO.

I finished writing the story before 2 p.m. and sent it to Sir Marlon. After that, I dashed to Makati to give my share of the blowout. Rachel had prepared a pizza for the reporters. I was assigned to buy dessert so I bought refreshments from Jollibee. I really liked their peach-mango pie and their caramel mango ice craze so I bought them for the reporters. I also bought doughnuts for Sir Marlon.

So, what did I learn from my internship? Lots and lots. First, I got to taste how it was like to be a full-time reporter. The first week was difficult because it was the adjustment week. As I went through the internship, however, I felt more at ease with the profession. Though I am not yet sure if I will pursue the career, I think I will survive if ever I do.

Second, I understood that theories inside classrooms and practices in the real world often collided. There were many times I had to let go of what I was taught in favor of the tradition in the work place. I had recorded several of those incidents in my diary including my reactions. Perhaps the most unforgivable was the reporters’ dependence on press releases to make their stories. Though I also depended on such several times, I reminded myself that when I become a journalist, I would elevate my reporting. I would not be chained by these PRs.

Third, writing news is fun, but the gathering part is more enjoyable. I really found news difficult to write. Perhaps the best thing I learned in my internship was writing straight news stories. Though there are still vast rooms for improvement, I will treasure the insights from the practitioners. I no longer fear new, in fact, I have learned how to study it from newspapers and the Internet. I still enjoy data gathering more, however, especially when the information is difficult to come by. Several times I haggled with the police and other sources so that I could obtain the information that would complete my story. Most of the encounters were successful.

And fourth, journalism can be further enriched when one decides to enter the trade. I figured out that staying inside the classroom was insufficient if I wanted to learn journalism. I need to practice it and to live it out. Truly, experience is a great teacher.

That ends my internship.
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