Did I tell you I just did a two-week internship at a paper? It was better than my first one at a broadcasting company because I had a better understanding of how a newsroom works after my first experience, and I’m more comfortable with print.
It felt nice to see my name in the paper :), and the most interesting of all was to see how the paper developed over the week — sitting in meetings where editors discuss which pictures to use and where each story should go is really quite illuminating and sometimes, disgusting and disappointing.
I don’t know whether I want to devote my life to an industry that’s…I don’t even know the word to describe it. I feel the media has in some ways gotten to a point where it can tell everyone mercury is good for health, and everyone will buy it and go about their activities based on that core belief. Businesses will lure customers, elections will be won, countries will be run, policies will shape society and planet earth as we know it based on that one belief churned out by a stupid, overweight hamster running on a printing machine wheel, thinking it’s doing the best and most important thing in the world.
Not in every way of course, but in many many ways.
And I don’t know if I will survive as a journalist! If I’m sharp enough, tough enough, bold enough, and persistent enough to uncover the truth. If I’m skillful and sensitive enough to know how to communicate it in the most honest and understandable way. And then clever enough to manoeuvre around the many obstacles in a news corporation to put it out there.
Let me tell you a secret. You know how everyone always says how the mainstream media in Malaysia is totally corrupted and unreliable?
I have never really known or understood (or even believed) how, or in what way. And I’ve always felt very stupid for not knowing it. I can parrot out the standard explanations people give, but it doesn’t seem very pithy.
I don’t understand the inner workings of it. If it is really that shitty and if everyone knows it, why are they still in business? Why are people still buying the papers?
Ah I don’t know how to verbalize what I’m thinking properly yet…but my point is: after being in the newsroom for two weeks, I am beginning to see how news works. The best and most honest intentions are simply not enough in this business. You’ve gotta be very clever and persistent, too, if you want to achieve your noble objective of getting the story out there the exact way you experienced it — in its honest form.
OK I should stop because if I continue I will prolly be talking about things I think I know about but actually don’t.
But one last thing is this: I am very sad that my 2.5 years of journalistic education up untill now has FAILED to educate me about the realities of a newsroom…something you can’t catch unless you’re there I suppose?