55 Days in 1500 Words

It was on Monday morning, my friend and I walked into Rappler’s office located at 25th floor of a building in Ortigas center, Pasig city, Metro Manila. The door was opened. We were welcomed by a woman sitting next to the door. She introduced us to our workplace. After waiting for a moment, a young lady came to us. She is Raisa, our internship program coordinator. Raisa explained us about internship guidelines. Actually she used to do internship at Rappler before becoming a full time staff.

I was really excited after meet Rappler’s staffs since I had been waiting so long to work with them. Finally, we met our internship supervisor Zak Yuson. He asked us about what we have learnt from school, about our experience in media filed, and about what we want to do at Rappler. We told him we want to bring something new to develop Rappler more successful by practicing our knowledge, skills, and experience. As I have dozens of works in journalism from print to broadcast to online, I told him I want to cover news events to inspire and share stories to audiences. Moreover, I showed my fascination with

social media strategies, production works. I noticed that Rappler uses new media effectively to promote its site and to engage with its viewers. Production works at Rappler impress me including quality and impact. This is a reason why I chose Rappler as my internship place.

Zak smiled. He designed a work schedule for my friend and me. We will work in three teams which are MovePH, social media, and production for two weeks each. After completed with these teams, we could work with any team we fascinate.

Now I became a Rappler’s reporter, and I was proud of it. They gave me an identity card as Rappler’s person to make me confident during my mission. My journey began with MovePH team. MovePH is Rappler’s citizen journalism branch to build, nurture and engage communities that want to make change through intelligent conversations and stories that can move people to act. I work in this branch to write about skill and lesson learnt about food safety, flood preparation, health, and peace building to start a ripple and a difference.

First task is pushing stories on social media. I need to read at least five news articles on Rappler and share them on social network such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. I keep updating with what’s happening or trending on Rappler website. It helped me to understand its platform structure on how a multimedia site should be designed.

A day after my present at Rappler, there was Typhoon Rammasun , known as Glenda in local, hit the Philippines. Glenda damaged crops, livestock, fisheries and agricultural facilities. To inspire other people to discuss, engage and take action to the damage, Rappler run disaster mapping by observing actions on social media. The map helps users to know where and who were searching for help after the disaster, and it allows users to take action by providing donation and volunteer. I was assigned to work with this project. I needed to monitor hashtags #GlendaPH and #ReliefPH on Twitter and Facebook to get data and information for mapping. When there is any information related to the hashtags, I need to map on Rappler’s mapping project. Users just put computer mouse on their nearby places, and they will see what’s happening in the places.

Rappler communicates with their colleagues mostly via email, so any updated information or announcement will be informed by email. People are active at replying email.

While I was reading articles on its site, my friend and I received an email from our supervisor. They asked us whether we want to do news coverage on technology and food safety forum. We said yes. We tried to ask other colleagues who will cover the forum too, and we ask them about how reach the forum location. It’s a national science week in the Philippines.

It’s our first time taking public bus to Mall of Asia, 15 km away from our place in Ortigas center. When we arrived there, we walked around exhibition stores showing how technology plays roles in the Philippine’s society. Finally, we joined food safety forum to gather information for our news article. It’s not that challenge for us since we both have some experience in journalism, and we didn’t face language barrier since the forum was organized in English.

MovePH run #StoryOfNation project. A project aimed to provide voices to voiceless who wanted to express their opinions toward State of Nation (SONA) when president talks to assembly about main national issues. My friend and I went to street to interview grass root people about their opinions toward SONA. By working hard, we finally found two people who agreed to be interviewed and photographed on media.

I have known some Filipino friends before I arrives Manila. A friend of mine text me about an upcoming flood drill event in Quezon city, 12 km away from my place. We talked to our supervisor that we want to cover the event, and he agreed. We left from our dorm since early morning to avoid traffic jam. We met event organizer team, and we explained about our purposes and objectivities by joining the event. They welcomed us warmly. The event was organized a whole day. I was responsible for taking photos and interview.

Another mission came. We did news coverage on ASEAN food fair. It’s a very special fair to showcase ASEAN food identity among ten nations. First lady from all ASEAN member states represented their nation’s embassies to the Philippines. It was taken place at a luxurious mall, 15 minutes by taxi. My friend and I photographed pictures from the fair and gather information for our article. It’s such a great opportunity for us to get to know Ms Cambodia’s ambassador in Manila, and later we had dinner together at her resident.

It’s about holy festival for Muslim people in the Philippines. You probably heard about Islamic group Abu Sayyaf which has been portrayed on media as a terrorism group causing instability in the country. An Islamic peace building organization planned to organize an event to promote understanding about misperception toward Muslim people in the Philippines. I knew about the event through my Filipino-Muslim friend who I met in Malaysia last year. I discussed about the topic with my friend Sophea and my supervisor about my idea to cover the event. We ridded public train MRT for the first time to reach location of the event. I took photos and conducted interview with the president of organization hold the event.

Just a short notification, all the four news coverage were written by my friend Sohpea and me. We sit together, and discussed about story structure.

After discussing with our supervisor, we found out that it’s quite interesting story to make a short documentary about floating village. “Artex Compound” is a topic to be shot for our documentary video. We read articles and documents to have some ideas about its background and context, and also google about shooting location. Yet, we got lost on scouting day.

It does not end up our mission what we fascinate. On the next day, we tried to reach Artex Compound again. We ride MRT to North Avenue, and then took a Jeepy to Monumento. We are in the middle of nowhere after arriving there. We ask people on the street which direction should we go on. Both of us walked a bit, and decided to take another Jeepy. While we are sitting, we tried to ask driver to guide us to Artex. But, he did not know. A middle age woman with short hair and slender body, and wearing t-shirt with jean looked at us. She seemed to say something. “Are you going to Artex Compound?” asks the woman who later became as our interpreter. She knows the place because her house is nearby Artex Compound. Finally, we reached the place in the afternoon after the woman brought us there.

We talked to local people and barangay about why we were there and then rided a boat which was row by an old woman. We ask her about her living in the compound. After hearing her story, we made a decision to request her as our documentary’s protagonist. I conducted an interview with her. I also negotiated with local authority and civil organization to get consent letters. This documentary will be published on site soon along with a text describing about how it was made. The text was written by me.

I talked a lot about the documentary assignment since it took almost three weeks to be done. It’s my work for production team.

Last but not least, I write an iSpeak article (op-ed) about tobacco war as my individual assignment. It’s about how smoking damage human health and national economic growth, and what mechanism should be used to solve the problem.

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