Three things I learned at Rappler

Gaby Gloria
One of Rappler's youngest interns shares her experiences during her stint as a researcher

“You’re doing this for fun?” was one of two reactions I would get from other interns when they learned that my internship was not required. While others would say “Ang sipag mo naman!” (You’re so industrious!)

Being an incoming Communications sophomore, I was younger than most of the people from my batch who were either incoming juniors or seniors.

Most of them were required by their respective universities to complete an internship for the summer, while I decided to apply, well, for fun.

Working in the Research Department, one thing I had the opportunity to do was write a “Fast Facts” article. So, to use what I’ve learned, I’ve made a Fast Facts compilation of my internship experience:

1.) Research is a vital part of every article 

The people who dig up the information are equally as important. I remember following Rappler’s coverage of the PDAF scam last year, amazed at how its reporters were able to find anomalies in documents that other news agencies wouldn’t even think of picking up.

Back then, I was curious about the process that went into getting all of those facts and details, and my encoding tasks explained most of it.

My first task as an intern was to encode the 2012 SALNs (Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth) of Philippine senators, and to try to spot any mistakes. Not exactly the kind of hard-hitting journalism I expected, but still exciting nonetheless. What other news agency would give their interns access to such crucial information?

I soon learned that encoding was not as easy as I thought it would be.

There was a certain responsibility that came with the job to make citizens aware. I was also sort of pressured knowing that everything I was typing into that spreadsheet would be useful to the reporters in one way or another. If I messed up even one value, many things could go wrong.

Because of this, I now have a deep respect for the people who make sure all the facts in each article are accurate.

I also really admire the quality of their eyesight. Two weeks of that type of work (but with breaks, of course) practically made me cross-eyed, what more for them?

2.) All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

The proverb, famously used by Jack Nicholson’s character in the film The Shining, resonated with me as I sat at my laptop for those first few weeks. And no, Lorde, unlike you, all work and no play would have definitely made me lose it.

Encoding was a pretty hardcore job.

This was not your typical copy-paste operation, people. Imagine staring at your computer screen for hours (and days), going back and forth between pages and double checking values.

The “play” in my month-long stint came in the form of my first field assignment. So after two weeks of seemingly endless encoding tasks, I pitched an article on an upcoming book signing event.

The journalism gods must have taken pity on me, because instead of simply covering the book signing event, I was given the opportunity to interview one of its headlining authors, Veronica Rossi. 

FIRST INTERVIEW. The author with the writer Veronica Rossi

It was my first time to ever interview someone so popular (or anyone other than school administrators, for that matter), so it was a great learning experience.

Most interns aren’t usually handed one-on-one interviews with New York Times-Bestselling authors, so yes, that was awesome.

3.) The ride wasn’t exactly smooth

As cliché as it sounds, I made mistakes and learned from them.

The bulk of these mistakes happened before, during, and after my interview with the author. As excited as I was to do everything on my own, there was also that looming fear of messing up and tarnishing (at least a bit of) Rappler’s name.

The editor who gave me the assignment let me come up with questions, deal with the PR person, and write the article.

I was expected to know everything about her, from her age to the amount of Twitter followers she has. As a first-timer, this was a lot to digest, and I fumbled up as expected. I said “um” countless times during the interview, and sent in my article a day late with no pictures.

In addition, the struggle to get published was real (for me).

As an online publication, Rappler’s job is to report the news as it happens. Because of this, you have to really work to get things on the website right away. There were two cases in which things I wrote never got to see because they weren’t finished on time. That was okay with me, because the comments I got were very constructive and taught me a lot.

Like what Sir Zak Yuson said during our orientation, “the input is equal to the output.”

Whatever effort put into a certain task is equal to what you get in the end.

For most, it was to get their names on that upper left hand corner of an article. I may not have been able to get that coveted byline (yet), but the overall internship experience makes up for that.

I stand by my initial reason for applying: it truly was an enjoyable month. –


Gaby Gloria is an incoming Communications sophomore at the Ateneo de Manila University and a Rappler intern. She has also written articles for Positively Filipino and Planet Philippines. On most days, you would find her at her computer, excessively bookmarking links to DIY projects and articles about teenage wunderkind.