The Hexacoto

Listening to the sound of one hand clapping

Tag: journalism

Are You Qualified to Be a Journalist in China? Take the Test

Previously, China was last seen refusing to renew the visas and press passes of nearly two dozen foreign journalists from American news organisations, leaving them uncertain as to whether they can continue reporting China’s issues from the ground. This has prompted chastisement from Vice President Mr. Biden himself.

Now, it seems that China has made its decision: for foreign journalists to remain in the country, they must show themselves understanding of what is expected of them and of journalism in the country — that the role of journalism is not to the truth, but a service to the people? The Chinese government has decided that foreign journalists will have to take tests to show they they know these concepts. From the New York Times:

What is the essence of the Chinese Dream? What did Marx and Engels ask of newspaper reporters? How do Chinese and Western views on journalism differ?

Those are some of the questions Chinese journalists can expect to be quizzed on when they renew their press cards in early 2014.

This is the first time that all Chinese reporters have been required to take a test as part of the annual press card renewal process. In theory, journalists need the press card to work legally in China, although some commercial media companies employ reporters without the certification. Those who fail will be permitted to take it again.

The goal of the test is to “educate and lead news gatherers to uphold the Marxist journalistic ideals more consciously, to better serve the people, socialism, the work of the party and the country,” according to the General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

Can you also be a journalist in China? Take the test to find out! Answers at the end.

1. What is the essence of “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics”?

a. Social harmony.

b. Comfortable standard of living.

c. Comfortable standard of living for all.

d. The Four Modernizations.

2. Comrade Xi Jinping has said that the Chinese Dream is essentially the dream of __?

a. The people.

b. The working class.

c. The Communist Party of China.

d. All Chinese people around the world.

3. Comrade Xi Jinping said that, in order to realize the Chinese Dream, we must take the road of __?

a. Socialism with Chinese characteristics.

b. Modernization.

c. Peaceful development.

d. Opening up and reform.

4. Comrade Xi Jinping said that, in order to realize the Chinese Dream, we must unite the power of China, which is:

a. The power of the leadership of the Communist Party of China.

b. The power of the unity of all ethnicities of the Chinese people.

c. The power of the unity of the working class.

d. The power of the unity of all Chinese people around the globe.

5. The ultimate mission of socialism with Chinese characteristics is:

a. Opening up and reform.

b. Improving economic structure.

c. Raising GDP.

d. Emancipate and develop social productivity.

6. Comrade Xi Jinping points out that, in order to realize the Chinese Dream, we must carry forward the Chinese spirit, which includes: (May choose more than one.)

a. The spirit of the nation with its core in patriotism.

b. The spirit of the our time with its core in reform and innovation.

c. The spirit of rule of law with its core in democratic politics.

d. The spirit of tradition with its core in honesty and honor.

7. How can news and media workers improve their ability of leading public opinion? (May choose more than one.)

a. Insist on principles of the party.

b. Insist on being people-oriented.

c. Keep on innovating and reforming.

d. Strengthen cultivation of talents.

8. “Prime Minister Zhu Rongji looked stern, and pointed out solemnly: ‘Whoever promotes Taiwan independence will not end up well!’ His words rang in our ears and shook our hearts.” What is good about this quote?

a. It vividly sums up the speaker’s view.

b. It gives the facts in a nutshell.

c. It is concise.

d. It provides a smooth segue.

9. What is the most basic principle of news ethics in our country? What is the most basic principle of Western news ethics? (May choose more than one.)

a. The principle of social responsibility.

b. The principle of serving the people.

c. The principle of journalistic professionalism.

d. The principle of freedom of the press.

10. What is the most important difference between our news ethics and that of Western developed countries?

a. Our news ethics belong to the theoretical system of socialism ethics; news ethics of Western developed countries belong to the theoretical system of capitalism ethics.

b. The most basic principle of our news ethics is wholeheartedly serve the people; the most basic principle of news ethics of Western developed countries is freedom of the press.

c. Our news ethics emphasize the people; Western developed countries emphasize the media’s social responsibilities.

d. Our news ethics emphasize the principles of the party; Western developed countries emphasize that individuals should be independent of political parties.

Answers:

1. a; 2. a; 3. a; 4. b; 5. d; 6. a, b; 7. a,b,c,d; 8. a; 9. b,d; 10. b

Read the full article on the Times here.

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Sir Terry Pratchett: On My First Job

Sir Terry Pratchett is one of my favourite, if not the favourite, authors out there. I admire the ways he twists and form word innovations, creating novel ideas with very mundane things we have, turning them unexpected. For example, he once wrote this in his book:

“The study of invisible writings was a new discipline made available by the discovery of the bi-dimensional nature of Library-Space. The thaumic mathematics are complex, but boil down to the fact that all books, everywhere, affect all other books. This is obvious: books inspire other books written in the future, and cite books written in the past. But the General Theory of L-Space suggest that, in that case, the contents of books as yet unwritten can be deduced from books now in existence.” (Lords and Ladies, Terry Pratchett)

One of the quotes from his series that inspired me to write and create more unwritten books for the future. Other quotes from him from the same book:

“Technically, a cat locked in a box may be alive or it may be dead. You never know until you look. In fact, the mere act of opening the box will determine the state of the cat, although in this case there were three determinate states the cat could be in: these being Alive, Dead, and Bloody Furious.”

“The shortest unit of time in the multiverse is the New York Second, defined as the period of time between the traffic lights turning green and the cab behind you honking.”

A friend of mine created a Tumblr peppered with liberal amounts of Pratchett quotes.

But Pratchett recently wrote about his first job as a journalist at the Huffington Post. A friend (the Pratchett quote blog one) shared it with me, though pointing out that fundamentally we’re different in that he saw journalism as a means to being a writer, while I wanted to be a journalist, with the possibility of ending up as a writer eventually. Either way, it all means nothing until I actually start on this path. Here’s what he wrote.

On My First Job

My education began in the library, where I read every book I could get my hands on. Before long, I wanted to be–among other things–a writer. I read books about it, and I learned that the chance of making a living writing novels was remote. But I also learned that if I got a job on a newspaper they’d have to pay me every week.

Immediately I wrote to the Bucks Free Press, the weekly local, without which a sizable part of South Bucks would not be able to be properly born, married, buried, sentenced in court, informed, or feted as the grower of the funniest pumpkin in the fruit and vegetable show.

It was 1965, and I had been told that journalism was very, very difficult to get into. Nevertheless I sent my careful letter to Arthur Church, the Editor. I informed him that I hoped to leave school with three A-levels the following year and asked if there was any possibility there would be a vacancy on the paper. This letter contained some nascent journalism, being accurate without being entirely true. I wasn’t confident I would get the A-levels. I hoped I would. I also hoped to be the first man on the moon.

Arthur’s reply said in essence, “I don’t know about next year, but I have an opening right now.” And almost before I knew it, I had a job prospect.

There was a minor problem. I hadn’t told Mum and Dad about my application, and they were currently away on holiday. They’d left me on my own as I was 17 and perfectly capable of looking after myself, so long as the baked beans lasted and the dirty laundry basket didn’t overflow. When they came back, I sat them down and told them I had been offered a job on the paper. Thankfully they were happy. My father took the view that his son would not have to spend his time looking at the underside of cars in a greasy garage, and my mother calculated that I would be the editor of The Times in 10 years.

The following Monday, I went to school minus my uniform, and notified them that I was not attending any more, thank you very much. Then I departed through the entrance that only teachers and visitors were allowed to use. I went up the road to the editorial offices and to a life of putting words together in their proper order.

My first day, I saw a dead body, and discovered that my new job was much more interesting than Maths. I also discovered that it is possible to go on throwing up long after you’ve run out of things to throw up.

Later that week–with my father in attendance because I was a minor–I was officially apprenticed to Arthur Church. My indenture was signed. More or less, the newspaper owned me; I was untrained and therefore a liability, my wages perceptible through a microscope.

My journalistic career unfolded with a certain routine. On Friday the newspaper came out. To some extent, this made it an easy day, although, of course there was always a court somewhere that needed the presence of a journalist. Actually they didn’t. Justice was dispensed more or less satisfactorily whether we were there or not. Nevertheless Justice has to be seen to be done, and therefore a stalwart from the Bucks Free Press had to sit there in his Jeep jacket and write it all down in impeccable Pitman’s shorthand.

For me, though, it was a time to scurry around, clearing and filing the spikes and generally cleaning up the place. The spikes, for those born after the era of hot metal printing, were just that, metal spikes on their own little wooden bases beside every desk. They were a kind of waste paper basket with a restore facility. Any piece of copy that the news editor had decided was not going to be used was stuck on a spike for possible retrieval in case breaking news changed things. They became the repository for everything from bits of information that might be useful later all the way up to quite a lot of your blood if your laconic stab led you to get the spike through that little web of skin between your thumb and index finger. And in any case, they all had to be filed first thing on Friday morning.

My next task was to write the week’s episode of what would in the fullness of time be published as my first novel, The Carpet People, still happily in print in the UK and shortly to receive its US debut, 42 years later. It became my job because I was the newest recruit and nobody else wanted to do Uncle Jim’s Corner. This children’s column was to include a story and birthday greetings to those children whose parents had the foresight to let Uncle Jim know about the happy occasion.

We also had to put in our time dealing with the news, such as it was, of High Wycombe itself, in the eyes of Arthur Church the center of the universe. He had been brought up there and cared about the area with a quiet passion. So much so that when the Apollo missions produced their first astonishing photographs of the moon, Arthur had to be ordered by high command give them front page placement–even over his cherished local headlines! He eventually consoled himself with the reflection, “Well, the moon does shine on High Wycombe, after all.”

Arthur instilled journalistic ethics into me, while George Topley, the chief reporter, gently taught me that sometimes they were not enough. They were good men. I am grateful to have met them, even if in those salad days I might have occasionally thought that they were cantankerous dinosaurs, especially as, nearly half a century after, I now realize that cantankerous dinosaurs have their place.

Touching story, beautiful journalism

nytimesprojPhoto credits New York Times, from the Invisible Child

It is not very often that a piece of journalism moves me, and I can say that the Invisible Child, a project that follows the lives of Dasani, her parents, and seven other siblings, as they struggle with poverty and the trap that is shelter housing. Immediately, Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc comes to mind, where she took over 10 years to follow the story of two women as they struggle with love, drugs, and prison.

However, Invisible Child is no mere tear-jerker, even as its tales are raw and moving in its simplicity, and the attention to detail makes the scenes real to the reader. Invisible Child expertly weaves together some of the very complex ills that plagues New York City into one coherent story, namely:

  1. The bad the homeless situation in NYC is. With 22,000 children homeless in the city, this is the highest it has been since the Great Depression. It also talked about how mayor Bloomberg exacerbated the situation with his policies when he took office.
  2. g2

    Infographics credit to New York Times

    Income inequality, neighbourhood inequality, and the encroaching gentrification that hems the poor in, as they squeeze them out.

  3. The ongoing tensions between public schools and charter schools, as the latter are often better equipped with computers and equipment, attracting richer students, even as they share the same grounds with the public school. This leads to worries of segregation and discrimination of the poorer-off public school students.
  4. The helplessness of the poorer trapped in their poverty, as they are beholden to drug habits, stuck in their social immobility due to a lack of skills, lack of financial responsibility education such as knowing the importance of saving, etc.
  5. The injustice and deplorable conditions shelter residents have to put up with, from those who are supposed to help them. Shelters subject their residents to unsanitary and downright unsafe conditions (story talks of a baby who died because there was no air-conditioning), as well as the constant fear of sexual assault that goes on in these places.
  6. The resilience of the human spirit we see in the protagonist, Dasani. Even as the story paints her a fighter, it also shows her clinging on to her childhood as she is forced to grow up to take care of her seven younger siblings, and at times, her parents.

I would highly recommend anyone to read this piece of amazing journalism, and it has truly made me proud to have embarked on this journey. Even though my path to journalism has yet to take off, it is shining pieces like these that pull me through, in hopes that one day I too may make a difference by telling stories like these.

I would also recommend people read the author’s notes, as they are highly informative and show how the stories is pieced together, especially given the multitude of statistics in the story.

So many questions asked, no answer provided

Singapore bus death triggers riot

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Photo credit AFP, taken from BBC News

Most people who have a connection to Singapore would probably have known that on the 9th December, 2013, a riot broke out. Initial reporting from Singapore media Channel News Asia reported on the incidence plus with an advisory to stay away from the scene, stating the number of participants (about 400) and whether there were casualties or not.

That is all very well, but I think as with any credible news medium, not only is reporting what happened sufficient, but some sort of investigative journalism as to why the riot happened is required, isn’t it? Even as things have died down, there is scarcely any definitive work as to the cause of the unrest. Soon, alternative news sources began filling in the gaps where state media had failed to furnish what the people wanted to know.

People on Reddit provided a time breakdown of the chain of events, as did some blogs, although their sources referenced each other. Of course, vitriol against the prevailing ruling party started pouring in on these threads, drowning out possible discussion as to why the riot started.

The Real Singapore, another alternative news source, started editorialising, which in itself isn’t too bad, but TRS having a streak of being anti-PAP, their contribution was a rehash of a populist anti-immigrant stance that disenfranchised Singaporeans had with the PAP’s lax immigration policies. I quote:

On the surface, this could easily be put down to the foreign workers being more rowdy and less law-abiding than Singaporeans but in reality everyone has a boiling point and people are not naturally very violent or blood-thirsty.

The big difference might be that we are taught from young to be fearful of the government and listen to authority.
When foreign workers come to Singapore, they do not have the same “training” and can become more rowdy more easily.
This is particularly a problem when the government brings these FTs (FT: “Foreign Talent”/i.e. immigrant workers) here in large numbers and they bring with them their values and cultures and do not learn from Singaporeans how they should act here.
Last night, this was clearly a problem with a large, rowdy riot breaking out.
Many netizens commented that the photos and videos looked like they were not taken in Singapore and further raised concerns that if this is happening, it is not a far stretch to say that other problems such as higher crime rates and more occurrences of rape might be happening soon too.

Effectively turning the discussion into a “These foreigners are not as well-trained/subservient (double jab at 0our over-policing AND at lacking discipline standards of those overseas?) us, and hence are prone to violence and lustful acts.” The author further adds:

These people must have been stressed out and otherwise frustrated with their lives to so eagerly break out in a huge riot.
This could be due to work-related factors such as long work hours, low pay, no welfare and other forms of exploitation from their bosses. Singapore has many reported cases of foreign worker exploitation so this is really not an unrealistic possibility.
Singapore has no effective workers’ unions and so workers’ complaints and concerns are very rarely heard.
When people are oppressed in such a way with no way to vent their frustration or get recourse, they will eventually boil over. All their frustration and stress is like fuel awaiting a spark to ignite the flame. Perhaps this is what happened yesterday evening.

That still does not shed any more light as to how whatever transpired that night, merely speculation that unfair work conditions and pent-up frustration formed the powder; how, then, was the accident the spark that ignited the riot?

Rather than we all just sit here twiddling thumbs, throwing blind guess, why isn’t anyone interviewing the rioters? Surely the rioters would know best why they were rioting? Without any actual word from those involved, all these theories require a leap of logic from “overworked, unpaid, labourers” to “bus accident killing a fellow national leads to a riot.”

Someone should be asking these questions, to the rioters and by-standers:

  • Did you witness the accident?
  • If yes, what did you witness? How did the accident happen?
  • Did the deceased seem intoxicated? Was the bus driver driving recklessly?
  • Who was the first person who discovered the accident?
  • How did the crowd of Indian nationals gather at scene? Did someone call upon them?
  • Did anyone else other than the Indian nationals gather at the scene?
  • If he called upon the others to gather, why did he do that?
  • Who called for the ambulance/police?
  • What happened while people were waiting for the ambulance/police? Was there a crowd by the time they arrived?
  • How did the police handle the situation? What words were exchanged? Did they physically move people around?
  • Who started the fire? Why did he start it? At what juncture did the smashing and torching start?
  • What were being yelled during the riot?

I’m sure there are a lot more questions that can be asked, all of which would answer a lot more questions than the “coverage” we’ve received so far.

Understanding what the “God particle” isn’t

Particle tracks from a proton collision, image credits LiveScience

News of the Higgs boson came out a long time ago, and has been nicknamed by the media as the “God particle” as an accessible way of understanding what the particle is, much to the chagrin of many scientists. It has also been touted as the particle responsible for giving things mass.

Frankly, I didn’t quite understand it back then. Thus I sought to read up on it, and I learnt many surprising things about how it worked, and how many of the things the media said it did were untrue.

I stumbled upon the blog of theoretical physicist Matt Strassler, who tries to explain big science as painlessly as possible. His article, The Higgs FAQ 2.0, was immensely helpful in parsing out what the discovery of the Higgs boson really means and what the media touts it to be.

  • First and foremost: scientists aren’t particularly interested in studying the Higgs boson (particle). What they are really interested in is the Higgs field, which the discovery of the Higgs boson can help confirm that the field at least exists.

The media has been touting how the discovery of the particle will explain the building blocks of life and how matter come to be, but that really isn’t true. It isn’t the Higgs boson that gives mass to other particles, but the interaction of the other particles with the Higgs field itself.

  • What is the Higgs field then? The Higgs field is something that’s everywhere, measurable, and can be what’s called “zero” or “non-zero” on average. If it’s “non-zero,” it can have tangible physical effects on our world.

What’s so important about this is that because the Higgs field is non-zero in the universe, many particles have mass, including the electron, quarks, among others. “If the Higgs field’s average value were zero, those particles would be mass-less or very light. That would be a disaster; atoms and atomic nuclei would disintegrate. Nothing like human beings, or the earth we live on, could exist without the Higgs field having a non-zero average value.” Strassler writes in his FAQ.

  • The Higgs boson has been hyped up, while what’s really important, the Higgs field, has been ignored by the media

Strassler writes,

On the one hand, finding the Higgs particle is the easiest (and perhaps only) way for physicists to learn about the Higgs field — which is what we really want. In that sense, finding the Higgs particle is the first big step toward the main goalunderstanding the properties of the Higgs field and why it has a non-zero average value.

On the other hand, our modern media world insists on generating hype. And since explaining the Higgs field and its role and its relation to the Higgs particle takes too long for a typical news report or interview, journalists, and people talking to them, typically cut the story short. So the Higgs particle gets all the attention, while the poor Higgs field labors in obscurity, protecting the universe from catastrophe but getting none of its deserved credit…

  • The many simple explanations of how particles, such as electrons, gain mass by moving through the Higgs field is wrong.

Strassler writes,

And so a particle’s mass is the same no matter what it is doing — stationary relative to you or moving relative to you. And that’s important, because a particle is always stationary relative to itself! so it always, from its own point of view, should have the same mass.

Analogies which refer to the particle’s mass as having something to do with the field being like molasses, or a room full of people, are problematic analogies because they make it seem as though a particle must be moving in order to feel the effect of Higgs field, whereas in fact that is not the case.

I started by looking at those analogies, but the one below explains it the best, even though it still has to use the analogy of “moving through it” to achieve the idea of achieving mass.

 

I would say a more accurate analogy might be: There is a room full of magical fat that coalesces onto people who exists in the room. A person X exists in this space, and he coalesces a light amount of magic weight on from the air; he can move around lightly. A person Y also exists in this space, and in his existence, he coalesces a lot weight on him; he moves around less lightly. A person Z exists in this space, but he is special and coalesces no magical fat on him at all, and he is able to zip about at speeds unthinkable to X and Y. The encumbering of the coalesced magical fat on the persons are the given mass. Thus, X has less mass than Y, and Z, akin to the speed of light, and having no magical, cumbersome fat on him at all, is mass-less.

  • The Higgs field is not the universal giver of mass

Strassler writes,

…the Higgs field is not the universal giver of mass to things in the universe: not to ordinary atomic matter, not to dark matter, not to black holes. To most known fundamental particles, yes — and it is crucial in ensuring that atoms exist at all. But there would be just as much interesting gravitational physics going on in the universe if there were no Higgs field. There just wouldn’t be any atoms, or any people to study them.

He wrote in another post, titled “Does the Higgs Field Give the Higgs Particle Its Mass, or Not?

  1. The Higgs field does not give an atomic nucleus all of its mass, and since the nucleus is the vast majority of the mass of an atom, that means it does not provide all of the mass of ordinary matter.
  2. Black holes appear at the centers of galaxies, and they appear to be crucial to galaxy formation; but the Higgs field does not provide all of a black hole’s mass. In fact the Higgs field’s contribution to a black hole’s mass can even be zero, because black holes can in principle be formed from massless objects, such as photons.
  3. There is no reason to think that dark matter, which appears to make up the majority of the masses of galaxies and indeed of all matter in the universe, is made from particles that get all of their mass from the Higgs field.
  4. The Higgs field, though it provides the mass for all other known particles with masses, does not provide the Higgs particle with its mass.

That post becomes hard to understand further down the line, as Strassler uses mathematical equations to demonstrate how even if the Higgs field became zero on average instead of being non-zero, while electrons, quarks, neutrinos and W and Z particles, which are dependent on the Higgs field for their mass, would then become massless, Higgs particles still have mass, indicating that their mass must come from a different source, other than the Higgs field.

In all, understanding scientific breakthroughs is hard, especially when the media, in its bid to make it accessible to the general public, obfuscates or places unnecessary emphasis on the wrong things. This actually impedes the understanding of what’s actually important, and learning about how our world works.

“Quitting journalism”

In recent viral video news, Marina Shifrin, who worked as a content editor at Next Media Animation, Taiwanese news animation company responsible for animated news hits such as US-Sino Currency Rap Battle or the one on US airport security body scans, quit her job with a bang, by releasing the above-embedded video.

Shifrin also wrote a post on her blog about her departure, and how journalism is “dead” to her.

I dropped everything for work. I spent hours in the office perfecting my headlines, my voice overs, my stories. But as the workload increased, I found I could no longer keep up. I tried. I came in earlier, I stayed later, I worked on weekends. Scared I wasn’t pulling my weight, I went to my boss and told him how I felt.

“Make deadlines, not art,” was his response.

After I admitted that I could not hit the deadlines needed to put out our long-form, satirical news pieces, I was moved to our serious stories. Guess what I figured out? Journalism is the worst! I mean if you’re not reporting about which Kardashian is pregnant, then you’re reporting about a baby that was shot in the head.

I understand Shifrin’s frustration with writing what she calls “fluff” pieces — after all I once tried writing for Buzzfeed, and it was the most excruciating animated-gif-laden piece I’ve ever produced, and was not proud of it when it was finished. However, what I don’t get is if she can’t keep up with journalism deadlines, where news is produced every day, what was she expecting journalism to be when she decided to embark on that journey in college? Was she not expecting a breakneck pace of work?

J-school tends to give the impression that people have the luxury of time to slowly craft and follow a story, but at least through internships and having to produce content daily, journalism students should know that a lot is expected of them in the span of a day. Shifrin’s beef with her boss’s rather reasonable expectations of her to make deadlines is rather unfounded.

Also, did she not know what she was getting into when she entered Next Media Animation? Perhaps she did, and thought she could outlast the content NMA produces. But she calls having found NMA “different.”

It was for an animation company where I was free to make jokes and put my personality into my writing. I loved it! I found the perfect combination between comedy and journalism. I was having my cake, eating it AND going in for seconds.

She apparently knew what she was getting into, and the whole “NMA produces only fluff” stand seems rather dubious at best.

Her quitting has attracted coverage from quite a few major sites: Wall Street Journal sees her dramatic exit as the product of Millennials’ cynicism, Huffington Post sees it as internet win, and Gawker merely touts it as a young person unable to news aggregation and quitting.

From a Singapore popular opinions site, The Real Singapore has also picked up on the story and wrote their own scathing take on Shifrin’s resignation. They called it a quitting in the “most narcissistic, viral way possible.” They also wrote:

This is the big villain of Shifrin’s piece, the boss who wanted her to hit “deadlines” instead of crafting the “art” of her journalism. Well guess what? Journalism isn’t art.

This is why there is no respectable journalism in Singapore; even sites such as The Real Singapore, which purports to deliver news and journalism as an alternative to the mainstream Singapore media, don’t even respect journalism themselves.

I’ve gone through school to study journalism and how to be a journalist, I want to be a journalist. But it is very easy for many to dismiss journalism as being art, or even fail to see how it can possibly be art. I don’t see how the connecting of the lives of others around the world in as succinct a piece as possible isn’t a form of art.

When Shifrin says she “quits journalism,” it really makes one wonder if she’s meant for journalism in the first place. Pursuing journalism has always been akin to some sort of willing self-debasement — one expects to lose time, friends, and relationships to journalism. But being a journalist is about despite knowing these and still staying on, because one really loves the news. That’s really why anyone would willing put themselves through such torture.

Surviving journalism is all about being in the right news sector.

Why I choose to do journalism

A friend had dinner with a business partner, and asked me to tag along. I did, and eventually we talked about what I do. I said, I am trying to do journalism, but have had no luck breaking into the field yet.

Inevitably the question of “Why would you want to do journalism?” came up.

Frequently in the past, I would say, “When I was in high school deciding what I wanted to do in college and after that, I sat down and thought about what I liked. I was good at writing, and I liked travelling, and putting the two together, I came to the conclusion of journalism.”

However, that seemed like I wasn’t really all that interested in journalism, and that I was merely treading a path borne out of reasoning from what I was good at, passion notwithstanding. That night, at the dinner, I surprised myself and when I found myself giving a different answer.

“Why did I choose to do journalism? As I did my internships in journalism, and having to do research and keep up with the news, I realise that I really do enjoy knowing things about the world and telling people about it; I guess that makes me a news junkie. Reading and finding information, piecing them together to unravel threads of a story and being able to tell people about it is exciting to me. Only in a career in journalism do I get to grow along with it, and work isn’t merely work but a daily opportunity to learn and grow, and that is ultimately very satisfying to me.”

In this time that I am still not employed in the journalism industry, I am still trying my darndest best to keep abreast of the news, and producing content on this platform, keeping verisimilitude that I am doing journalism, still.

Would it have been easier to fold, and throw in the cards and go back home? Certainly, but I didn’t spend four years in college pursuing journalism (and linguistics) in the United States learning about journalism and the free press, only to go back home in an environment without free press and a general freedom of speech and expression. I didn’t travel over 9000 miles to learn to question, and to find answers, only to go back to a system where reporters have to be wary of reporting the “wrong thing.”

I left to feed my hunger and passion — I’m certainly not going back to kill it.