PureInsight | August 24, 2009
Experience sharing at the 2009 Washington D.C. Fa Conference
[PureInsight.org] Reverent Master and dear fellow practitioners, I am a reporter from NTDTV in New York. The topic of my sharing today is “Rectifying Oneself in Doing Fa-Validation Projects.” I would like to share my experience as a reporter.
Overcoming the Difficulties of Becoming a Reporter
When making programs for New York cable television and covering the greater New York area, we reporters were required to be able to do all of the tasks involved such as shooting footage, writing a script, narrating and video editing. I was really reluctant at the beginning, as I had never used a camera before and was a bit afraid of using it. Besides, carrying the camera bag and a tripod up and down stairs in a subway and getting across several avenues in Manhattan is very tiring. In addition, we have to go to all sorts of events in different settings and meet with different strangers. I was unsure how I would deal with various situations. How would the people treat me? I thought to myself that even the NYPD have two police officers in one car. As to the new topics we report on every day, we have to do a lot of research on the Internet. Then there is the job of turning easy English terms and descriptions into accurate, understandable Chinese.
We were supposed to file the news by 9PM every night. The editors at the end of the production process kept asking whether we were finished. I was listening to the sound-bites of the English interviewees. I had barely put on my headset when three team members asked me questions one after another. Our working area is in a corridor of the station, a busy hub, where practitioners in, the marketing departments are making phone calls to their clients, clarifying the facts. They would usually raise their voice when the person on the other end was stubborn. People getting off work gradually arrived at the station and warmly greeted each other. Some even left their desk to make phone calls right there in the corridor. Under these circumstances, reporters on our team developed the ability to work in spite of all the noise. Still, people working at the station after their everyday job might have had things to discuss with reporters and they would just stop by while walking in the corridor. Therefore, it often happened that I had to put on my headset and take it off many times, without even finishing one sentence. When working to the deadline, sometimes I felt that all the cells in my body were on edge.
Challenging as it might be, whenever I finished working on a hard topic, it seemed that my sweet feeling of accomplishment could not be generated any other way.
It was a grand occasion, the first day when NTDTV broadcast to the Greater New York area. Three months later, four reporters left for one reason or another. We lost half of our man power, yet the time we needed to spend on making new programs increased from five days to seven. Whoever was left to do the job had to go out every day. Sometimes, I really wanted to take a break, but I had to go on, as the city does not take a break, and there is always some kind of event to report. However, I found out that the time for me to take a rest is actually well arranged. Somehow Master knows how long I can hang on. Once I've done my job, there will be a chance to take a breath.
My capacity was always expanding. One day, for some reason, I had this school girl idea that at least for that particular day, I wanted to stay home and do nothing. Perhaps it was meant to help me get rid of my attachment to leisure, since I never could really stay home by then. On that day, when I was enjoying my leisure time, the news coordinator called and said, "If you aren’t going to go out and shoot, why don't you make a news brief with the footage we have, about the damage on the trees caused by the artificial waterfall in New York?" I took the job, but the footage we had was of the waterfall, and not the trees. Without footage of the damaged trees, how could it be convincing? So I carried everything on my back and took the train to Brooklyn. I had to walk a long way from the subway station and climb up a long slope with all the heavy equipment, just for that shot. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been at peace.
Another example was a press conference of the Department of Labor in New York. It was about a garment sweatshop. I had a choice of how I wanted to report the news. I could simply cover the press conference and interview the abused worker, but I decided to go visit the factory in Queens, alone. Getting off the train, and walking in the factory area, I didn't see a soul. I walked several times along the same road before finding the place. The factory was closed. But I saw a broadcasting van of a mainstream TV station parked nearby, waiting to do a live report. I had a chance to clarify the facts to their cameraman, and introduce our station. At the same time, I saw how professionals cover the news. They have an extravagant crew. We have a single person, yet we do what's needed in covering such a topic.
Usually, after one day's work, it is challenging both physically and mentally. In this year's Shen Yun show, the story of Mulan was on stage again. I thought, maybe it is a reminder to the female practitioners not to seek comfort in the name of being a woman.
From the incident of the U.S. Navy SEALs’ shooting the pirates off the coast of Africa to save the hostages, we can see what credit it has given to America if one can simply do one's job to the utmost. It doesn’t require a billion dollar budget like the military has. As long as one can do one's job to the standard as required by their position, he or she can play their part. It has been seven years since NTDTV was founded. We have been given that much of time to find our place and work as professionals.
Being Modest When One’s Skills Increase
I have been to many news events and witnessed many different situations. I learned how to deal with different subject matters, how to deal with the people, and I felt at ease with the techniques needed for news production. My sense of confidence was growing, and sometimes, I felt like a kungfu Master who had mastered their art.
Assuming the job as a reporter and coordinator, I found it hard to balance assigning the jobs, yet not being bossy, to being responsible to my coworkers, yet not being superior. People just wouldn't listen to me. So I had to come down off my high horse and become more modest. Instead of giving orders, I became the servant. When we first started to broadcast on cable television last year, we were eager to meet the strict requirements for news quality and quantity. A newspaper reporter joined our team. Though she was new to TV and had to learn from scratch, she would not respect the rules and insisted on her news being broadcast. I, being at the station for so many years, was very confident in every aspect of the news production, and I took it upon myself to teach her. At the beginning, I was very patient. Later on, I found that it took too much time to convince her to do things my way. So I decided to stop convincing her. One evening I saw she was struggling and couldn't meet the deadline for the news. I started to work on some news pieces myself. In the end, the editor used my pieces. She was very hurt. At 12 midnight, we started an argument that lasted for two hours. It was hard to think I was wrong, because I was being responsible to the television station. Yet in the end, I sent out an email to the reporter group and openly apologized. I forced myself to look within and to admit that I was wrong, yet I felt like a hedgehog with all their spikes pulled out. It was humiliating. I only got over it when I reread Master's lecture, “Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Atlanta Fa Conference:” “...When doing things for Dafa, your competitiveness, desire to show off, clinging to your own emotions, feeling like your reputation is being challenged, and other attachments might be mixed in.”
Sentient Beings Are Waiting
After one year's worth of efforts, we can see from the surface that the ice in society is melting. Whether it is westerners we encounter or people in the Chinese community, they are all very nice to us. When I was doing an interview in Chinatown, a primary school student saw our logo and said to her friend, “Hey, this is the channel that our family watches.” Western society is starting to recognize us as well. People in one entertainment company said to one of our reporters, "How is so and so? Why didn't she come to our event this time?” The press person of a US senator's office said to me, “You guys come to all our events. I am really keen to see the news.” Another US senator in NY, in her open office day, spoke to our camera to greet the Chinese audience though she had a very tight schedule. When I covered a press conference in City Hall, before I had barely set up the camera and took out the cable, a cameraman from another media reached out his hand from behind me and was waiting to help me plug it in.
When we tried to interview the Mayor of Newark at a recent parade, though surrounded by many people, he waved me with a big smile, as if we’d known each other for a long time.
Physical challenges are nothing compared to the fear in one's heart. Sometimes, I was reluctant to go out and cover certain topics that I was not familiar with. The barriers seemed substantial. For example, I really didn't want to cover the NTDTV Piano Competition. But when I actually went to the venue, I was surprised that the contestants gave me very good interviews. I realized that the sentient beings are waiting. It's all arranged. We just need to step forward and do what we need to do.
Many places in New York have royal names, such as Queens Borough and Prince Street. Brooklyn belongs to Kings County. Once, I overheard two people's conversation. “What, the nearest bus stop from your home is four blocks away? That far?” I suddenly realized that the concept of far and near in the human world corresponds to a large scale in other dimensions. In Manhattan, several blocks away, it could be in another kingdom. When we cover news in different communities in the city, isn't it like walking across thousands of mountains and rivers, yet all of this has been confined to such a small island? People whose predestined relationships have been connected will, through the platform of our media, in displaying an upstanding way of life, or showing what a normal society should be like, attract more viewers for us. Aren’t they making an important contribution as well?
There are so many projects in New York, with many events happening every day in both western and Chinese communities. When the reporters’ team in New York was established in 2008, we had only one full time reporter. Others still had to do some other ordinary work to make a living. This year, we have two full time reporters. The tasks have been increasing. Every year, we have to cover all the Dafa activities and events on important anniversaries, and now there are the Nine Competitions. Now the Marketing Department has come up with a lot of news leads and events to cover. In addition to Chinese and western communities, we also reach out for Korean, Japanese, Romanian and other ethnic groups. Last year, New York reporters altogether did more than 1,800 news packages. This year, till the end of May, we made over 730. With just so many reporters, we joined the coverage of 55 Shen Yun shows in 18 cities of North America, including Florida, Hawaii, and Vancouver. At the same time, those reporters who stay at their home offices have to cover all the local news. For some cities, after the Shen Yun shows, they might be able to relax, but for us, we have to go on.
Team Work Means One Plus One is Bigger than Three
Apart from strengthening our physical and mental forbearance, we are enlightening to the power of team work. On certain days when all of the reporters are present and support each other on the news, the energy field is very strong. Some reporters shoot several pieces a day and others will take some task off their load to help with scripting and editing. Our record is 10 news packages in a day.
There is another example of working together. Once I saw the police trying to subdue a youngster fighting with other youths on the street. I didn't know how I was going to do the news, but I just took out the camera and shot. Because it was a minor case and I had another event to catch, I didn't stay long. Another reporter of ours saw the chaos, and she also immediately took out her camera to shoot, even with three bags on her shoulder and one meal box in her hand. It turned out that the footage she took, with the police tying this man up on a stretcher and putting a mask on his mouth, made the previously plain story more interesting and dramatic.
On this year's World Falun Dafa Day celebration, two of our reporters needed to play in the Divine Land Marching Band, so we had a third reporter record the event, while those two did the interview of people before and after their performance. They even made two news packages afterwards that day.
In a word, I feel that the process of participating in the Fa-rectification projects is a process to rectify oneself and expand one's capabilities. Only with a pure heart and team work, can we really do things well with limited manpower. It's like a bottle that you can fill with pebbles, and then fill the empty spaces with sand, and then pour water in it, and still there is room for air, with it never reaching its ultimate potential.
Thank you, Master, for having me enlighten, and for giving me chances to do better.