Every long journey must face its consequential end – and so it is with the career of reporter. The journalistic odyssey of every reporter must eventually reach the end point… the last report from the field. The long years of tedious work in covering beats, going to different places, meeting different personalities and dignitaries – all these have induced stress and anxiety even on the most hardiest news reporter.
As a reporter, a part of me rejoices while another part laments. It is really a difficult to swim in the polluted waters of politics and treacherous waters of truth-telling. However, with a deep sense of integrity and love for work, I managed to keep my head above the water. Eating death threats for breakfast, averting every danger while covering rally dispersals, and rendering more than the usual regular work hour just to substantiate and give justice to the news that people read and need. The stress and anxiety challenged not only my physical strength but also the stability of my emotions, and my commitment to the principles of journalism.
Amidst all the challenges of journalism, I always found strength in God who is the Truth. Taking the long, arduous road to the factual truth was truly worth it. It is not everyday that a news item can enlighten the masses to the point of inspiring them to take action. All the stress and anxiety of the work seemed to be of little importance compared to the fulfillment of having brought to the people the information they need.
Quite frankly, I went through heaven and hell just to find my own place in the competitive world of journalism. I, too, had to make sacrifices in terms of time and energy just to fulfill my calling. Like every journalist who tried to maintain integrity in work – I, too, had to tread my own via dolorosa – my road to suffering. Chasing one scoop after another, haggling to get the best shot and the most exclusive interviews among the Who’s Who — it was expected that I would sooner or later slow down due to stress and anxiety.
Many times, I have contemplated about my worthiness to be a reporter. Modesty aside, my journalistic record already shows that I have what I takes to see my articles in print. Perhaps, like my fellow writers who have finished the struggle before me — I, too, have earned my right…to have a place in this world. Admittedly, there were times when I fell due to self-doubt and envy. But something within me gave me reassurance that I could stand together with the best of them — if I could only stop comparing myself to others. Thankfully, I learned that being a reporter…being a writer is such a solitary work. In the same manner, I should also learn to judge my own work — motivated not by the need to belong or to get approval from others, but for the sheer love of the craft and the desire for continuous self-improvement as a writer and journalist.
My experiences as a writer-reporter reminds me of the story about a man who found favor in the eyes of God. An angel of the Lord appeared to the man and said that he can have three wishes. The only catch was that whatever he wishes for, his neighbor will be granted twice of what he wished for. In reverent awe, the man fell on his knees and thanked the Lord for the blessing he has received. He first wished to have 1,000 heads of cow, and in effect, his neighbor received 2,000. His second wish was for a son, and subsequently his neighbor had twins. In a sudden bout of envy, he asked the Lord to gouge out his left eye so that his neighbor would lose both eyes. The angel of God was saddened by his wish and never granted the last request. Indeed, man must never fall into the trap of envy. Instead, we must strive for excellence while wishing good for our fellowmen.
As a reporter, stress and anxiety will always be present and should be treated as part and parcel of being a journalist. In summary, a reporter-writer must not only search after the truth. He must also be a force for good.