58 days as a foreign intern

I left Cambodia almost two months ago to take the Rappler internship in the Philippines and chase my passion for journalism

Sreychea Heang

12:6:36pm September 28, 2013

12:6:52pm September 28, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – Not too long ago, I left Cambodia for the Philippines to chase after my passion for journalism.

I was one of the 3 students of the Department of Media and Communication at the Royal University of Phnom Penh awarded with a Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung scholarship.

Along with the scholarship, I was granted the rare opportunity to have my internship at the social news network Rappler.

Time flew fast. After almost two months here in the Philippines, I am now headed back to my homeland. While I inevitably have to say good-bye to the new places I have been and to the good people I have met along the way, the wonderful experiences and memories I collected during my internship do not necessarily have to go.

Looking back, there’s a lot of things to remember and cherish.

Everything new

My first memory of the Philippines is still fresh to me. I welcomed the prospect of being in a new country with anxiety. Several thoughts and questions made me restless.

“Who will be my supervisor?”

“Which section should I join?”

However, above the anxiety I felt, I was also excited to see Ms Maria Ressa. It was almost unbelievable seeing the person who I only saw through my computer screen now a few steps away from me.  

Eventually, I was comforted by the assurance that I am in good company. Rappler is a good avenue for budding journalists who want to learn more about the different forms of media – from generating text stories to producing videos.  

As a foreign intern, assisting in the national news coverage was really challenging. I had to keep up and understand the news in a country that is not my own. This is also probably the reason why most of my output for the internship – whether photos or articles – were concerned with the interconnections between the Philippines and Cambodia.

INTERNSHIP. Rappler interns pose with members of the Rappler-MovePH staff. Photo by Karen dela Fuente

Dynamics in the newsroom

Being a Rappler intern, I was able to witness the lively dynamics in the newsroom. In fact, I am amazed at how the Rappler team is able to produce substantive reports despite its small size.

With creativity, the team is able to maximize its small human resource to good use.

While small, the newsroom is undoubtedly lively. I will always remember how Rappler Associate Producer Dindin Reyes would often shout, “Quiet in the set! Cellphones silent!” – a known signal that a shoot is about to start.

As a Rappler intern, I am also proud of being able to contribute to the company's major events: ThinkPH and PH+Social Good Summit. In these events, I had the chance to brush elbows with different high-ranking people from well-known organization like Google, Red Cross, and the United Nations Development Programme.

The magical byline!

Of course, my Rappler internship will be incomplete without the wondrous feeling I felt when I saw my first byline on the website.

Beyond being published, I am also overwhelmed whenever readers comment, click on the mood meter, or share the story with their networks.  

The readers’ response was enough to encourage me to keep doing more.

Rappler made me realize how online social media can send ripples, pioneer changes, and help society in varying ways. I’ve learned that being a journalist is not only about providing news but also about making sense of the news.  

With these, I’m proud to be a Rappler intern. - Rappler.com

Sreychea Heang was a Rappler intern from the Royal University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Read more about the Rappler internship program here.