Saturday, June 30, 2007

why media is not for me

“…and remember, dress properly, be courteous…” And so goes the litany of last-minute reminders. I was packing my things for my trip back to Cebu after a two-week vacation in my hometown in Leyte. (where all I did was to eat, maximize our cable television, surf the internet at wee hours, and sleep) My mother was going in and out of my bedroom, bringing my ironed clothes and checking if I forgot to pack any of my belongings. We managed to slip in the perfunctory mother-daughter conversation. Had I known better, my mother is as anxious as I am in entering the yet unfamiliar terrains of the real world – the world after university education, where one has to deal with real problems concerning survival, money, and career.

Fresh graduates have an edge over more seasoned workers when it comes to applying for jobs, a colleague of mine once remarked, because their minds are still teeming with much gusto and idealism. College students, when they graduate, set their gears in motion to put into practice all the years of theory that school has taught them. They are eager and excited to take on the new challenges of life.

Imagine them as little kids who have just discovered the power of their arms and hands. To their delight, they start to crawl around and crawl some more until they, too, find out about their legs and the marvels they could do with those two tiny feet. Fresh graduates are like those kids, trying to take a big plunge into that great career pool and testing the current if it is calm enough for one to be allowed to struggle in and across it, and if the circumstances are favorable, he or she may be swimming towards the other side in no time. But while others have gone diving – discovering their strengths and weaknesses in their fields, I have remained at the edges with much conviction, skittering…skittering…and skittering still.

When people leave the halls of the university, they have more or less conceived notions on how they will be spending most of their lives. I had my ideas, too. In fact, way before college, I was determined to pursue a career in journalism. My greatest ambition then was to work as a journalist in one of the nation’s daily broadsheets. The vision was simple: me, sitting on a desk, typing away words that come bumping into my head, and finding that article on print the very next day. I was so enamored by the thought that without hesitations, I told my parents I was going to take up Mass Communication in college. Even if I knew they wanted me to follow their footsteps and take an education course, they gave me their blessing. Back then, people prophesied that I’d be the next Korina Sanchez or Bobby Nalzaro. Though I was quick to dismiss their forecasts as premature, I still dreamed my childhood dream and I thought nothing could ever dissuade me from pursuing such. But then, reality took on an entirely different meaning in college. Reality was…REAL…so real that I could smell it, touch it, and grasp it with my own hands. So real that the little things I used to ignore were now larger than what my eyes could take in. So real that one by one, the pieces started falling into place – but not without first landing smack on my face.

One of the most frustrating moments in your life is when you realize how different and how great the difference is between reality and idealism. In the four walls of the classroom, you are taught clearly what is black and white but outside the confines of that room, you’ll see that the world is marked with a lot of grey areas. I’m one of those ordinary people whose ideas are not lived up to by reality. When one gets to see the starkness of reality, one would feel giddy about it on impulse – having seen something so close which others are not privy to. At first, one would feel an overwhelming sense of power that comes from the mere knowledge of it. But those first moments have long passed and now I am only left with one thing: reality, in its naked form.

In school, we have always been taught that media is the fourth estate of a democracy and an important catalyst of change. Media practitioners should be objective, fair, and at all times, ethical. But in this world where there is no equality, where money is powerful, and where greedy people run the political system, all those high-sounding words, remain to be words…and ideas in our heads. The great burning dream of mine was reduced to ashes that dissipated, piece by piece, to the wind and nevermore. Thus, I stumbled across one of the many roadblocks in life.

I have decided to avoid employment in mainstream media because I do not want to be caught in a situation where I have to compromise my ethical values. The media is one of those places where you can most likely trade your ideals for money. I’d rather be employed in a corporation, whose nature is admittedly profit-oriented than be employed in a media institution, whose nature is also profit-oriented, hiding under the guise of public service. I was once fooled into thinking that if I become a part of mainstream media, I could affect people’s lives and fight for what is true. Well, that is partly correct. But it happens if and only if it will not collide with the personal interests of the media owners. Otherwise, it is best to shut up if you don’t want to be fired. At least in a private company, I know clearly what I am working for. No icing on the cake. No false guises. Just… reality. And just what I want at this point in my life…

No comments: