BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My first blog for TrustMedia, the Thomson Reuters Foundation

Iris Gonzales writes about her motivation to become a journalist in the Philippines - TrustMedia

I walked into the hulking grey office building of a Manila broadsheet many moons ago, armed with nothing except dreams of becoming a news reporter. I had just come from a month-long post-university vacation in foreign shores. I was curious to read about my country, which was going through a tumultuous time then. The president had just shut down a critical newspaper.

But in Toronto, I had to walk a mile to the only Filipino store in the area to buy a community newspaper that had something about the Philippines. It was then when I molded dreams of becoming a journalist.

I promised myself I would write about my country to the best of my ability and never stop to do so as long as people need their voices to be heard and their stories to be written. Now, more than ten years later, I’m still in this crazy world of Philippine journalism. I don’t know if I have been able to improve the life of a single human being.

But I will keep on trying, hoping that writing or rewriting history in a hurry, as what journalism is about -- will someday mean something.

There are still countless stories that need to be told. Last year, under a cold evening sky, I went to South Upi in the Southern Philippines in one of the most far-flung villages I’ve ever been to. There’s no electricity, no water in this God-forsaken place.

“Try living here. You’d be lucky if you can buy yourself an underwear,” one villager told me in the vernacular.

I left the place and wrote her story.