Writing a news or event report should be an intuitive and straightforward endeavour; after all, how hard is it to stick to the premise of “pen only what you will read”?
Yet, my pseudo-journalism experiences in the past months (here and here) – of writing and reporting – have been immensely challenging (and rewarding). I have been at Hong Lim Park to talk to youths about the #FreeMyInternet campaign (here), to share about the Pink Dot event (here and here), to celebrate National Day in a less cheery manner (here), and more recently to cover the third and final Population White Paper protest (here).
Commentaries and opinions pieces are certainly less demanding than on-site reports, for a few reasons:
– Getting quotes from people and newsmakers are tough, especially if you’re slightly introverted and find it hard to approach individuals for the first time (my friend Yi Shu (here), I think, does a tremendous job because of his experience and connection). Building up a contacts list is equally important too.
– Multitasking is a big pain-in-the-ass: imagine having to talk to participants, tweet about the developments, take note of the speeches, and snap (good) photographs (I can’t do this – still).
– Structuring and writing the final submission can be a huge challenge, particularly so when you’ve not been given a brief or instructions to tease out the key points. I believe proficiency and fluency will come with time, but in the meantime it is crucial to remain focused at the event (be ready with preparations, and have a game-plan in mind), write down everything and anything mildly interesting, and be open to suggestions (to drop quotes, change angles, and even kill the piece). Write only what you wish to read.
Relishing these moments, and am thankful; but still have loads to learn.