Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I'm running my NY conneX staff ragged with my demands for work to be delivered on a regular basis, and I wonder if they only just see it as 'work' or 'obligation', or if they can see past their quotas and understand that there is also a little magic in the stories they are writing?

That magic has to do with making themselves disappear, while simultaneously being the channel that gives their interviewee a voice, and a chance to speak their story to the world. I think that's the driving force behind why journos do what they do, the good ones, anyway.

Seen from this angle, the journo's job is a very human, very compassionate one. It's an aspect of the profession that I hope my staff will pick up on the job.

ST's interviewed a TV journo who seems to have got it right, and whose passion for the job has kept her going for 25 years already:

The television image cuts to the presenter holding the microphone. She is not glamorously dolled-up as some television personalities are wont to be.

Instead, she is wearing a bright orange polo T-shirt and a pair of nondescript cream-coloured pants, her long hair tucked beneath a baseball cap.

There is not much expression on her face, no exaggerated furrowing of the brows or watery eyes.

But the look of concentration as she listens to the woman's story tells you in a subtle yet unmistakable way that she shares - and understands - the pain and loss.

The images change again, showing the presenter going from one flood victim's house to the next, braving the midday sun in search of more heartwrenching tales.

It is all in a day's work for Channel 8 stalwart Chun Guek Lay.

Recounting her assignment in Johor Baru two weeks ago, she reveals she was seriously thinking of wearing a pair of shorts - just in case the floods hit again.

'My job requires me to look good, yes, but I'm a journalist first and foremost,' she says matter of factly.

Excerpt from Mak, Mun San. "Anchor Woman." The Straits Times. Jan 29, 2007.

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