A wallflower no more

Julianne Marie Leybag
Because of Rappler, I realized that I can do so much more and that I can be so much more than what I am today

When I first learned that I got accepted as an intern at Rappler, the first emotion I felt was surprise. I hadn’t really expected that I would get accepted since I passed the requirements only on a whim.

Prior to the internship, I looked at Rappler as “untouchable,” a place where only the best can enter. I was really glad that I got accepted since I know that, although my writing skills are bearable, there are others out there who are so much better than I am. I am really thankful that Rappler has given this rare privilege to a wallflower like me.

Fast forward to a few days later, I found myself seated outside the conference area of Rappler’s office in Ortigas because I came in late.

I was assigned to Research. I thought that I would simply do “research” — which meant more office work for me.

It turned out I was wrong because I got so much more than I expected.

As interns, we were expected to do things that any Rappler employee would do.

Aside from research work, we would cover events then write news stories right there and then. We were asked to encode statements of assets and liabilities (SALN) and the priority development assistance funds (PDAF) of senatorial candidates. We were asked to transcribe video interviews and do so much more.

RECOGNITION DAY. Rappler interns and Move director Chay Hofileña pose for a photo at the Rappler Intern Graduation. Photo by Janessa Villamera/Rappler


Basically, we were placed outside our comfort zones. I think this is one of the things that I luckily experienced at Rappler.

Speaking of comfort zones, I think that one of the best things that Rappler has taught me as a journalism student was how to be flexible enough to handle various forms of media, whether they are traditional print/broadcast media, or modernist online/social media.

Back in school we were only taught the techniques of writing and publishing printed material; but in Rappler, I learned how to write and how to manage content for online media as well. This is the most valuable thing that Rappler has taught me. It gave me a good background in writing for various forms of media. I now know I shouldn’t be confined to one particular medium only.

It was also because of Rappler that I had a sneak peek of what is in store for me, should I decide to pursue a career in journalism after college — lots of sleepless nights, round-the-clock writing, and being always on call even if you’re off duty.

I got a taste of this during Rappler’s election coverage, which was basically the highlight of my internship period. My shift then was from 4:00 pm to 6:00 am the following day, so you can only imagine the number of sleepless nights that we second-shift interns had to endure.

We were transcribing video interviews and writing news stories up until the wee hours of the morning, as well as doing production work every single hour.

It was very tiring; but instead of discouraging me, this particular experience has fueled my determination to become a journalist after college.

ELECTION FEVER. Like most people, we interns had our "starstruck" moments, too. Photo by Julianne Marie Leybag/Rappler

Perks and privileges

Being an intern at Rappler doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s all work and no play. I also enjoyed some of the perks and privileges.

First, seeing Ms Maria Ressa up close and listening to her while she anchored the newscast was exciting. I also got to interact with another personal idol in journalism, Ms Chay Hofileña. Too bad I didn’t think about asking her to sign my copy of her “News for Sale” book.

Another perk was the free food, especially during the election coverage.

I made new friends from other schools, who were my fellow interns. I think that I was very lucky in this sense because I enjoyed my internship and made good friends on the side.

We were not treated as “interns,” but rather we were treated as if we were normal Rappler employees.

Before the internship started, I was actually afraid that we would be made alalays, or glorified interns, making coffee or photocopying documents for the staff.

Every sleepless night, every published work was all worth it, because I know that Rappler really helped us push beyond our limits and discover our unknown potential.

It was also very heartwarming to see my articles published on the Rappler.com news site. These were the moments when I felt that my hard work paid off.

FIRING LINE. Rappler Interns taking a break during the Rappler Election Coverage. Photo by Ervin Aroc/Rappler

Beyond today

Rappler has helped me explore my potentials as a writer and as a journalist. Because of Rappler, I realized that I can do so much more and that I can be so much more than what I am today.

Rappler has given me fresh lenses with which to view the world of journalism. It has helped me realize the many things I am capable of doing even at such a young age.

Because of Rappler, I now know what career path to take after I graduate: I want to be a journalist and, hopefully, a lawyer as well. – Rappler.com

Julianne Marie Leybag is a Rappler intern and a student of the University of the Philippines – Los Baños. This article was originially published in her blog Whimsical Wanderings.