May 12, 2018

Alexa Yadao
May 12, 2018 · 3 min read

So, I write this to be reminded of that day I felt afraid. But the excitement no longer came.

Over a year ago, down to my last academic year at University, I was fortunate enough to have my internship at two media companies. I was afraid. I had three years of experience in the field but only had my journalism professors as my “readers” (and some students, assuming they read the newspapers we produced and released on campus).

Yet, this time, I thought, I would be writing for an audience other than my professors. This time, I thought, I had to write fully aware that I have to prove to myself I deserved the byline given by not one company but two.

And so I was able to churn out a considerable number of articles in two months. I learned about many opportunities which I can consider in the future. My field grew. I was talking not only to Government officials from Baguio but also in Metro Manila. I met more and more people. I was even talking to people from other parts of the country!

This is not to say that every day in those two months was happy and a satisfying one. My professors did a great job in reminding us that there is more to this job than the thrilling moments we watched in movies, and which fed our idealism (yes, hello Spotlight).

And they were right.

It was tiring talking to people, then having to write everything after. It was tiring chasing deadlines. It was tiring to be gripped with anxiety every time you go to the field, to talk to people who sometimes did not want to answer. It was tiring thinking “did I write everything accurately enough?”

But every time I saw my byline or the story I wrote, especially if it was something I wanted to write, and worked hard for, I am reminded that I was allowed to be afraid and it was alright.

So I spent my last academic year brimming with hope from the new lessons on the field. My internship at two companies showed me only a tiny part of what I will be facing out there. Yet it was enough to make me feel thrilled. As I completed my remaining units, I did so with a bigger goal in mind other than graduating. I was still afraid. Still, it was alright.

Yet as the events of 2017 and 2018 unfold, I watched, in horror,
how facts were twisted,
how lies were told under the pretext of serving people,
how it seemed that most of us did not read and listen anymore,
how media practitioners were threatened, and threatened by the very people in institutions who have an implicit obligation to respect the fourth state,
how we became more and more frustrated, and left as such without some form of release.

Yet, it was alright, I thought. Not another curse from a government official to the media would snuff out the flames fueled by a desire brought about by the experiences in field.

Then, people, I hold dear, started expressing their fears.

And I asked, is this how powerful these people, this system, have really become over us?

I was not totally surprised. Perhaps, it took a long time for such realization to fully sink in. And when it did it felt like I knew it all along.

So, I write this to be reminded of that day I felt afraid. But the excitement no longer came.

Next year, I hope I (and we) will be in a much better situation.

And I hope I will be in a situation born out of a decision I will not regret.

Alexa Yadao

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