by Oana Marocico

BBC: definitely not a hostile environment. At least, once you pass the ‘airport’-like security gates. Sesame open…! ‘Sesame’ was in fact the one-day training for Working in Hostile Environments #BBCWHE (BBC College of Journalism).

Five-minute tourist astonishment. It wasn’t The Great Wall of China. Or the  leaning Tower of Pisa. None of the world’s ten miracles. For journalists, the young – naive – wanna be – future to be – news junkies – curious minds – achievers and day dreamers, this was itself… Mecca.

I could almost hear, in my quiet insight, a gospel choir singing ‘Hallelujah’. (I can’t believe I just admitted this; n.b. to self: no more concerts out loud of your inner embarrassing chorus).

Armstrong-journalists' mission to Moon
Armstrong-journalists’ mission to Moon

After my ‘musical premiere’ in BBC, I was back in my reporter’s boots and attitude. Pen and notebook, ready to become a twitter stenographer. ‘No service’ mode got me a dry nib. So, I listened and listened and made a list.

A to do list ‘In order to become a journalist’ covering world’s nightmares. Let’s start day-dreaming of reporting nightmares. Floods. Tsunami. Wars. In order to accomplish your mission to Moon-journalism just to see Earth’s dark side, you’d have to:

  • no, not simply come dancing. Come running! If  you want to be a reporter, be fit. Fit for running and carrying equipment weighted in stones. River stones.
  • show initiative! ‘Don’t wait for £700 to pay for a hostile environments training, just take the emergency rooms.’
  • be courageous. ‘It’s not a job for chickens.’
  • expect to die. ‘This is a job that can get you killed.’
  • prepare for a PTSD. No, it’s not a short form for promotion. You’ll soon find out it’s a diagnosis: post traumatic stress disorder. Keep this in mind when your mind will be hassled by killings.
  • be passionate! ‘You don’t get paid enough to get a PTSD.

It’s fine I don’t expect to get rich. I’ll die trying anyway. Trying to become a hard-core journalist at the core of the world. Why do it? Because I feel like running against the wind. Towards the direction everyone seems to be running from.


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