By LULU MARK
WHEN he returns to university life this week, aspiring journalist Nathan Woti understands what life in a newspaper newsroom is like.
He spent the past 12 weeks in The National newspaper as a trainee journalist learning about deadlines, working under pressure, bylines – tricks of the trade so to speak.
“The practical at The National is part of the Journalism course requirement. It my first ever real job experience. I have never done part-time job before. It gave me a feel of what it’s like out there in the industry, dealing with deadline, pressure and all that.
“I have learnt a lot. Coming to work early in the morning, going out for assignments, interviewing people and chasing and getting stories.
“I like the fact that our editors here treat us as journalists and not trainees. They are always pushing us to go out of our way and get stories. That was the highlight of my time here.”
He joined on Nov 4 and left last Friday Feb 7. His “workmates” put together a farewell party for him.
“The biggest challenge for me was meeting deadlines as we are supposed to submit a minimum of three stories daily. In search of stories, sometimes people don’t want to talk and other times you have so much respect for some of the people that sometimes you feel that it’s rude to ask a particular question although it is a pressing issue that you need to ask. I overcome these fears and challenges by reminding myself that I am journalist and a reporter.
“Seeing the people I look up to respecting my work as a journalist also helped me.”
Dad John is from Jiwaka and mom Pauline from Western Highlands. But he was born and raised in Lae with his two brothers and four sisters. His dad recently retired as sales manager at Boroko Motors in Lae to start his hire car and trucking business. Mum Pauline manages the home, runs a private elementary school and is also the church and community women’s leader in addition to being a preacher.
She is usually called to preach in big crusades and “so all of us practically grew up in the church”.
Nathan attended St. Paul Primary School in Lae and Busu Secondary School. In 2015 he was selected to the University of PNG majoring in History, Gender and Philosophy programme. He included Journalism and Public Relations as his minor.
“ I like the fact that our editors here treat us as journalists and not trainees. They are always pushing us to go out of our way and get stories. That was the highlight of my time here.”
“Before UPNG and studying journalism, I always read newspaper and see the bylines and I wanted to get there. It was the drive to go to print media, rather than broadcasting or television.”
He thinks a career as a journalist is a “noble one”.
“We are the eyes and ears and mouthpiece of the bulk of the population in the village. I see that just 10 or 5 per cent of the people on social media badmouthing journalism and newspapers. But 80 to 90 per cent of the population depend on us for information.
“So that is the big motivation to be part of something greater than myself. To be able to write about developments and keep people updated on the news.”
One of the biggest lessons he learnt in his short stint in the newsroom was “the passion for writing” rather than “money”.
“The biggest thing I identified with colleagues in the newsroom is it’s not about the money. It’s just about the passion of writing news and stories. At first I thought that getting the byline was the thing every journalist and reporters strive for but it’s not.
“The main thing is getting the information out there and seeing the people reading the stories and appreciating that at least what they cared about is told. It’s the stories and the reaction of the people after reading the stories that matters.”