Monday, June 03, 2013

Labor of Love

Ship Ahoy

"It was magnificent. It was like New Year's eve, it was like the fourth of July, it was one of the best moments of my life as a journalist. I was overwhelmed. Feelings of joy, of wonder, of inexplicable emotions got me teary-eyed and I thought to myself, 'Wow, am I a lucky bastard or what.' I actually got to see this."

Originally written in February

My teammates from India to New Zealand and I were all gathered for our annual meeting via video conferencing. It was a big day, with the VIPs (Very Important People) flying in from New York and Washington to Asia to join us.

I was excited to see my teammates and to hear from our managing and executive editors whom we rarely interact with. I belong to the South Asia economy team, and we write economic reports for the region. These  are typically stories about central banks, finance ministries as well as the regular economic data such as inflation, exports, etc.

During the meeting, the editors announced the winner for the story of the year. Each year, they choose from among the works produced by my team. It's a sort of recognition for the best reporting we've done in the past 12 months.

And then they announced that I won.

"It was a very tough call," Chris, a managing editor explained. "We had a lot of very good stories last year." He enumerated some of them which included a story about fruit and vegetable sellers in Australia, Ferrari deaths in Singapore, and cobweb-covered crates in Vietnam.

"But we all think that this story about the changing demographics in Asia was the most compelling, the most visionary and agenda setting," he said. "In many way, this is the kind of reporting that characterizes what we do. It doesn't only tell you what's happening now, but also what's going to happen in the future. It was a unanimous decision."

I was stunned. I didn't even nominate anything I wrote. You're supposed to nominate your best work, but I did not nominate anything since I didn't expect to win. I know I'm good, but as I keep telling my friends, I work with some of the best minds in the world and the stories they write are the kinds of news reporting that prompt governments to take action, change policies, create laws.

I could feel a silly grin growing on my face before I realized I was on a video call and they could all see my reaction. I tried to be calm but inside, all I really wanted to do was scream and shout. My God, I won. Me.

It was one of the happiest moments of my life. That night as I slept, I suddenly thought of the strange journeys we take that lead us to unexpected places. I never planned to be a journalist. It was one of those things that I accidentally fell into. I thought of the years I've spent being a reporter, dreaming of writing stories that one day can change the world.

Maybe, I thought as sleep slowly settled in, that day is not so far away.

"Now I'm just chasing time
With a thousand dreams I'm holding heavy
And as we cross the line these fading beats have all been severed
Don't tell me our youth is running out
It's only just begun."
---Foxes, "Youth"



rudeboy said...


Congratulations, Karl! It's one thing to be passionate about what we do, but to have others recognize that passion is a special reward indeed.

Momel said...

Yeheyyyy! I am so proud of you , Pogi! I have another accomplished writer, who does it for a living to boot, in my roll. I am really so happy for you!

Muahness from Pasig Cirehhh!

JM said...

I hope it was that story that I told you one time we talked. About how the sound economic policies of this present government affects the people in the countryside.

Congratulations, Mr. Kane.

Nate said...

Congratulations, K! :)

♔ıǝɹɯɐı♔ said...

Oh wow. Congratulations Kane :))

♥N said...

You're a special and gifted writer, Kane. You have a way with your words that inspire such deep emotion. I have always loved your story-weaving and the way you can take an ordinary situation and turn it into something grand to read. Keep on going, Kane. You've already made such a difference in the lives of so many of your readers.