[New School] For the thrill of it all: Why you should be an intern at Rappler

Dana Villano

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[New School] For the thrill of it all: Why you should be an intern at Rappler
'From the written word to the big screen and everything in between – there’s a little bit of everything when you volunteer at Rappler'

These past few months have been, without exaggeration, some of the best of my life. If you’d had told me back in October that sending in my Letterboxd reviews on Whisper of the Heart and Normal People would be the thing that got my foot in the door, I’d have told you you were dreaming. 

But what a wonderful dream it turned out to be!

As a Lifestyle and Entertainment intern, I got to experience a lot of firsts in just four short months. In November, I got to go to my first press conference for this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival entry GomBurZa, where I had the opportunity to ask Direk Pepe Diokno about the historical discoveries they made during the making of the film (he thanked me for the “great question,” which I’m pretty sure is a standard thing to say to anyone who asks you a question at a press conference, but that certainly didn’t prevent me from beaming internally).

Adult, Male, Man
IN THE NEWS. Featuring my proud mother. Dana Villano/Rappler

Working at Rappler also gave me the opportunity to write about more local and international cinema than I ever had before. From the elements of the “doomed romance” movie such as La La Land to Studio Ghibli classics like Howl’s Moving Castle, from modern coming-of-age novels to classic cottagecore female-led literature, writing longforms for Rappler allowed me not only to indulge in the media I love, but to challenge myself to direct my energy towards writing an article of value that could resonate with fans of the media and capture what it was that they loved so much about it. Each one of these articles was a labor of love that I spent far too much time on trying to get just the way I wanted it, but I’m incredibly happy with how they all turned out. 

One of my very first longforms for Rappler was a piece I’m particularly proud of: “From ‘Past Lives’ to ‘Aftersun’: The anatomy of a ‘quiet movie’”. At the time, my rationale for wanting to write the article was rather simple: I just wanted to put a word to the kind of movies that make up my own taste in films. But I couldn’t have predicted how much it would take off! Nearly 4,000 people saw the post on social media, and from there, the article took on a life of its own. I read comments saying things like: “So that’s what you call that kind of film!” And although I’m certain I’m far from the first to have described these kinds of films this way, there really is no feeling quite like getting tagged in other articles using the phrase too for the very first time – perhaps one of the best doses of serotonin I’ve ever had. I’m incredibly grateful to have gotten even a taste of what it’s like to write things that mean something to people, and to have gotten the chance to do so during my time at Rappler.

For my very last longform, I wanted to try my hand at tackling some heavier fare by digging deeper into the “tiger parenting” phenomenon and whether it constitutes a valid parenting technique or serves as a gateway to potential child abuse. Getting the chance to ask questions to professionals and peers and get their insights was nerve-wracking, in all honesty, but I’m incredibly grateful that they trusted me with their insights because it was their responses that made the article worthwhile. 

Being a volunteer writer at Rappler gave me a taste of what it would be like to work in the journalism industry – and it was thoroughly exhilarating. Although I had previously gotten to try my hand as a young teen in front of the camera, joining the Rappler team was a whole other beast, and it was a challenge I jumped at the chance to face. I’m also glad I opted to join a unit which I was genuinely interested in as it gave me free rein to write about all manner of things that I love. With the help and guidance of my lovely supervisors and fellow intern (hi, Ally!), I learned more about how to work in a professional environment and keep up with the very fast-paced work that ensures journalism is never boring.

When it came to my writing, I also had to learn to write more quickly without being too obsessive or perfectionistic, which I admittedly had a tendency to do. Having to hammer out an article every day pushed me to put in my best work for every single article  (and now that I don’t have to write anymore, I do kind of miss it!). I was also able to get an inside look at how I could adapt my writing for an online medium to capture people’s attention while remaining as truthful and honest as possible. Volunteering here at Rappler confirmed how much I love not just writing, but all manners of the literary and communication arts, so getting this chance really was a dream come true. 

So as I bid goodbye to my time at Rappler, I’m gifted with the reassurance that my lifelong journey as a writer has only just begun. 

And if you, too, find yourself excited by a workplace where no day is ever the same, then who knows? Rappler just might be the place for you, too. –

An avid reader, writer, and all-around communicator, Dana Villano is a graduating civil engineering student at De La Salle University-Laguna Campus. She was formerly a Junior Anchor for the Junior Edition of Newsroom on CNN Philippines and was a Lifestyle and Entertainment volunteer writer at Rappler from October 2023 to January 2024.

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