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Discovering Who I Am as a Storyteller

A young aspiring journalist goes out on an eye-opening, character-building internship that lets her experience how vast and expressive the world is.

By Angela CantigaPublished about a month ago 3 min read
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Behind-the-scene photograph in Baseco Port Area, Manila | Source: Angela Cantiga

To walk in others’ shoes, see through their eyes, and use one’s voice to amplify theirs–for me, that’s what it means to be a journalist.

It’s a long, tough process that does not stop with just meeting different kinds of people and writing about their lives. Because the goal is to be a storyteller and not a mere messenger to the public, there is a need to connect with the characters of the story. Before putting pen to paper, it is important to paint a picture first–of what it is like to be them, of what can be done for them.

My first internship in college helped me gain firsthand experience and develop the skills required to be recognized as part of a community journalism publication. When I entered the field for the first time, unlike what I was used to, I found that there was much to do other than asking questions and taking pictures. It’s like being thrown into the frontline of a battlefield with just the wooden sword and shield I used during practice in hand. Because this is a non-profit media organization composed mainly of volunteers, I had to independently carry out most tasks. From peasants and agrarian reform advocates to public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and other members of the workforce, I covered various marginalized sectors that challenged my interpersonal skills and knowledge about contemporary issues.

Candle Lighting for Palestine | Source: Angela Cantiga

One thing that left the biggest impact on me was seeing people, young and old, endure a long march under the heat of the sun while carrying huge, weighty placards and continuously chanting at the top of their lungs. These were scenes I'd never been part of before despite having seen them many a time, whether it be on TV or social media—scenes that would reel into a panorama of raw struggles and reality checks. Even as I was then, a burgeoning member of the media, I sought to contribute to society. Thus, on every coverage, I always reviewed and applied what I learned regarding media reportage on different types of issues. Whether it be a mass protest and mobilization or a controversial case about a minor, I followed appropriate practices when covering stories, from ensuring accuracy to observing ethics.

When I momentarily switched from news writing to other work-from-home tasks like graphic designing, I was reminded that neither was easier than the other. I put the same effort into using and improving my creative skills as I did my journalistic skills. As it was a collaborative effort, I learned many new things from the people I worked with. From picking the color palette to labeling the overall look, the decision depended on more than one person, which made the entire process enjoyable and insightful.

Another lesson I learned from working with others is how important contacts and connections are, what preparations are needed to be able to make the most of the opportunity, and why adequate research on different possible sides of the story is a must. This is where I was tested the most, to be honest, because I found it to be a completely different experience from writing. Being able to reach numerous sources of information felt like an achievement, and so did getting to know many kinds of people who made this immersive activity all the more meaningful to me.

Waiting During an On-the-Field Coverage | Source: Angela Cantiga

There's a lot to know about the world, and being out there opened my eyes to many other sides of it I never thought of seeing before. The whole journey has motivated me to pursue a transformative career. Even if there are more responsibilities and duties to it than I realize, what’s important is not to let how hard it is dictate who I am as a storyteller.

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About the Creator

Angela Cantiga

Writing to express, not to impress.

Hello! I am Angela, a web novel author and journalism student at age 22. I love writing stories, reading books, listening to music, and watching animated series–also, sleeping.

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