A Shot at the Star

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this post are my own and does not reflect that of the Philippine Star

Though it seemed impossible at first to even get near the Star, the universe seems to have conspired to get me in it.

As junior year ended, I felt pressured to get into a prestigious publication for my On The Job Training (OJT)/ Internship. We were required to get into the country’s print and online media companies and experience the real world, a year before we actually set foot in it.

With not much time in my hands, on top of the pressures to actually get into a publication where I can actually work and be read, I spent some time lurking around on the Internet, and later found out that I can get on board to still join the Philippine Star‘s PhilStar Boot Camp Batch 2. 

Without any doubts, I told myself I needed to chase the chance to get on the Star, and so I did.

On the 31st of May, I took the shot. It was nerve-wracking. After a written exam and an interview, we were good to go. Waiting for the results was even more agonizing. The anticipation I’ve built up in just a span of a couple of days wore on me a bit.

One afternoon, as I anxiously pressed F5, it has been confirmed– I was finally on board.

For two days, we underwent rigorous writing workshops that helped us prepare for what we can expect during our internship. From Features, to Lifestyle, to Crime Reporting and on to Investigative Journalism (even Photography!), we were told of how we should wade through the trade and not get lost along the way.

It wasn’t long enough until we had to choose our respective beats. We were asked to choose from Health, Education, Environment, Crime, General Assignments and Social Media.

I, together with my buddy (and best friend) Xave, chose the path no one wanted to take- the Crime beat.

It was an exciting time to report about crime in the country. When we started out, President Duterte stood firm in his remark that he will eradicate drugs, criminality and corruption– and based on magnitude of crimes and other police-related news I was able to report about– I’m pretty sure he’s set his eyes on wiping it off of the face of the earth.

At the Manila Police District (MPD), we were welcomed like we have been in the industry for so long. The veteran journalists and photographers at the MPD Press Corps were like parents to us, and the police actually took us seriously and with regard to our dedication as Rookie Reporters.

I found myself working side by side the journalists whose works I usually read or whose faces I usually see on TV. I found myself rubbing elbows with the men behind the stunning photos of daily newspapers. I didn’t expect to find myself in a new family.

During our internship, we were not limited to crime reports. I personally had the chance to cover two lifestyle events (both of which were related to fashion), the Metro Manila Shake Drill, and the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Inauguration. All of which I enjoyed, of course, as it gave me chances to expand my writing capacities.

Being a journalist truly is a calling. When certain conditions demand you to leave your emotions at the back of your head and just face a story (breaking or not) head on, you just have to suck it up. Reporting about people whose basic social liberties could be withdrawn had me thinking, “What if I’m on the other side of this situation? What if I was the one being reported about? What if I am the news? What would people think of me?”

However, not all of the news spell bad intentions. We were given a chance to write about stories that give hope, one of which is the story of the Home for the Golden Gays, the group of elderly gay men who are still looking for a permanent place to call home. Though much of what they’ve went through has been known, telling their story once more surely goes a long way, especially in a time when more and more people struggle to get through life’s challenges.

And what better way to cap off an internship? A printed byline, of course! Though it was just a short stint, having the chance to be published in the Philippine Star is a *HUGE DEAL* especially if you’re one who’s still building up your journalism career. The feeling of seeing my name on the paper felt amazing, as it felt as if I was already cementing my name in an industry so fast– it’s either you go with the flow or be left behind.

As of the moment I am still hell-bent on answering the question if I am really going to pursue journalism as a life-long career. There’s a part of me that’s still hesitant, despite enjoying and loving everything that has happened in the past two months.

Nevertheless, I am deeply grateful to the Philippine Star, especially to the reporters and editors who took us under their wing, for giving me an opportunity to thrive in a world I once feared of entering. Despite my fears and hesitations, I still dream of getting on board the Star in the long run and be part of the continuing quest for truth, one story at a time.

Here’s a slideshow of some outtakes during my internship:

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P.S: I hope to post more updates of my life and other “kahanashans” through the weekend. Thanks for putting up with me, haha!


‘Til the next!

-Marla 🙂