Just another post about my career choices.

Posted on January 26, 2013

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Let’s face it – people, especially in this country, don’t go into journalism if they want to make money.

That is, unless they’re

  1. absolutely good,
  2. working for well-known media agencies with an awesome pay, and/or
  3. from rich families that don’t have to care about having a kid that will raise the entire family from poverty.

Judging by my grades (so far), I am not  absolutely good. I get my moments of greatness sometimes (i.e. grades somewhere in the line of 1, great grammar and flow of thought, etc.) but I’m starting to think that I’m not as great as I would like to believe. I’m somewhere in the middle – not brilliant, but not terrible either. I guess I’m just this mediocre journalism student trying to make it to graduation.

I’m also not that rich. I come from a middle-class family. Given the chance, I’d go to the more fancy-schmancy universities where the comfort rooms are rumored to have liquid soap. Or to that university where I can study Advertising. Why do you think I studied in a State University in the first place?

“I want to be rich, and I want lots of money. I don’t care about clever, I don’t care about funny,” says Lily Allen in her song “The Fear”. This song pretty much sums up the not-so-pretty side of humanity. In this case, money as a driving force. We all want to be rich. Get rich or die trying. “Be a slave to money then you die,” as The Verve would say.

I dream of New York and Paris. Of London and Tokyo. I dream of a comfortable life around the cool, the beautiful, and the glamorous. I understand Amy March’s ambitious spirit in Little Women. I too would get on the good side of people if it means a chance to live in Europe.

But not, of course, if those people violate my values. I’m not that shallow.

People with good values make good journalists. Good, not just in terms of skills, but also in ethics. This semester, I am taking up J 110: Journalism Ethics. One of the most eye-opening subjects I have ever taken up. Ever. It opened my eyes to the realities of journalism. I learned that journalists are one of the most courageous people  in the world. Especially the ones working for little-known publications for the sake of passion, not money. They work their asses off every day, putting their lives on the line, for the pursuit of truth. Great journalists must be as unbiased as possible, which we all know is impossible to be. This includes receiving gifts in exchange of writing something good about the gift-giver. If we have to deny 50 mansions in Forbes Park because it will be unethical for us as journalists, then deny those we must.

Journalists go through these obstacles and for what? Not a lot of money. A white-collar job with a blue-collar pay. One does not simply discuss the salary of journalists without mentioning the phrase “overworked and underpaid”. Some journalists, like my professor, teach journalism as a sideline. Journalists have to be careful about taking another job because that might endanger their credibility as a journalist.

I want to be rich. So why am I here?

My mom told me to stay away from investigative journalism. We all know how dangerous it is to be a journalist, covering wars and shit. Getting death threats nearly every morning because of revealing Politician X’s dirty laundry. I told her that I wanted to take an Investigative Journ subject and she looked as if she’s going to have a heart attack.

I want to be safe. So why am I here?

I’m already thinking about working for magazines and maybe someday, for bigger media agencies abroad. I have to be good enough for that. This means good grades and a burning passion for journalism. Good grades? I don’t know. Burning passion? I used to have that when I was more innocent and naive. Now, I guess it’s just passion.

Bottom line: I’m starting to think that journalism isn’t my sure path to a comfortable life. Magazines, sure. Maybe. But I guess I’ll end up in advertising if I really want to get the hell out of the Philippines, which I really do.

Advertising is infamous for lying, which is the opposite of what journalists are supposed to do. But being in advertising would mean a ticket out of here, which is what I desire most in my life. I hope that being in advertising won’t mean turning my back on truth, on what really matters. I’ll try not to do that.

But I’m still trying to be a brilliant journalist, just in case. Believe me, I’m trying.

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