As I sit anxiously in front of this computer and dread about every word, I can’t help but be in love with the power of words.
Words can create images, settings, people and so much more. It can bring you into the future or back to the past. I have been working for Island Times Newspaper for about a week now and I have the greatest amount of respect for the people I work with. They have taught me so much from how to write different articles and how to always be factual and truthful about what you write.
One of the most important things I learned is that when writing for a newspaper, you have to be very careful about the information you give out because sometimes it affects the who or what you write about. I can’t help but stress the amount of importance about writing factual information because you don’t know the impact you will have on the situation you report.
There was a recent incident where a woman was reported by another newspaper for carrying $30,000 in cash and was caught at the airport. Her name, age and address were stated in the article. However, the article did not provide any mention about the source of its information.
The woman later on approached our office and explained her whereabouts about that night of the incident. She claimed to be at home doing laundry and socializing with friends. Right now, I can only imagine what she must be going through and when she came in to report, she and her mother are full of concern and disappointment.
Upon seeing the look on their faces, I could see the amount of burden and pain that they have all because of what someone wrote which they claimed to be false. So when I say words have power, they truly have the power to make any person be vulnerable to information and make a person’s information about them ruin the way people look at them.
The field of journalism is risky business and the people who get into it are brave souls. They risk their lives to exercise the freedom of press in their constitution by being the “watchdogs” of society. We are to inform about important events, actions, crimes and the progress of society. But it is still our job as journalist to get every detail to inform the public about everything that goes on in society, because it is a citizen’s right to see if the government is not corrupted, like if crime rates are decreasing, and economy is growing, among others.
But as a Palauan, and being familiar with the Palauan ways, we are all about respect and being considerate (omengull and melengmes).
We live on a small island and it makes it difficult for us to give information that might involve a friend, relative, and someone we know. We are all connected in some way so sensitive issues that get really personal are scary to us. But freedom of the press is important, because every citizen has a right to the information about the society they live in. It is not a disadvantage but a benefit.
Kerdue Uong is an intern at Island Times.