April 8, 2019 | My first post
Becoming a journalist has always been one of my life goals, that very one crucial dream to be pursued with all your passion and commitment. However, dreams do not always come true and, regardless of your efforts, it might seem hardly possible to translate them into reality.
In journalism, the level of competition is really high and everyone always seems more prepared and knowledgeable than you. For these reasons, perseverance and sacrifice may at times just not be enough, so one might need to find someone who’s ready to help and support. This is where the Lénaïc Fund comes into play. It simply enters your life as a wonderful and unexpected gift, which you barely feel like deserving. It almost seems too much, too given. But you basically can’t stop yourself from seizing the unprecedented opportunity you have been silently dreaming of for years, that is working as a reporter in Brussels.
What striked me the most and still does – as I’m still in the process of realizing I can actually enter the EU institutions undisturbed thanks to my brand-new yellow press pass – is that you are not seen as just another intern. You are the Lénaïc Fellow and people who knew her are sincerely interested in meeting you, talking to you and eventually support you in making your way into the Brussels bubble. Being automatically associated with the amazing trade journalist she was is a significant responsibility, but again, it is also part of the gift her whole family and friends’ initiative represents. Last week, Charles and Aulde invited me and the other fellows to the Press Revue, an entertainment show which is a must for journalists working in town. And at that event, full of senior journalists and other influential people, I first realized how huge the impact of this experience will be.
As much rhetorical as it may sound, winning this fellowship literally changes your life.
One day you’re a freshly graduated 24-years old girl trying to understand what to do of her professional career after a traineeship in Germany, and few weeks after you’re helping senior reporters to cover the Summit of the European Council. Clearly, something you would not usually have on your agenda.
Thanks to the placement that is offered, I have landed at MLex, a regulatory newswire which has offices all around the globe. MLex journalism is a peculiar case of high-quality. It focuses on antitrust decisions, legal cases, regulatory changes and risk. This means that all the reporters are highly experienced people who work on very specific beats, such as M&A, competition, trade, Brexit, but without missing the big picture of European and international politics. This makes it an extremely good place where you can learn this profession. Everyone is very busy and thrilled by the stream of the news, nonetheless ready to help, advise and make you learn by doing. There is no special treatment for interns and you basically get involved in the editorial activities since you step into the office.
During my first weeks I mostly helped out other journalists covering competition, trade and Brexit, so that I could familiarize with the basics of reporting on European affairs. But I have also been going to conferences, debates, policy dialogues as well as press briefings where I’ve finally had the chance to see how the European decision-making process – rather boring on the books – works in practical terms. Getting in touch with people you may be willing to interviewing one day is also something I’ve been focusing on these weeks. It is full of stories out there! But it’s also packed with fake news, so you really need to get to talk to the right people in order to produce high-quality pieces of journalism.
As I’m writing this short report, I realize how much I’ve already learnt. This is my first experience as a journalist at a professional level and I didn’t expect to receive so much trust. Since last week, I have been assigned to the energy beat and I started writing my own stories on topics I was once only following, not turning into news myself. Although I’m supposed to be good at it, it’s really hard for me to find the right words to describe the sense of satisfaction mixed with excitement and curiosity I’m feeling. But I can confidently say that now I feel more empowered and legitimate.
At the beginning, after I received the e-mail telling me I had been chosen as the fifth fellow, I was struggling with the idea of having received a gift I wouldn’t have been able to handle properly, because too precious. Now, I am sure that working hard and learning as much as possible are the best ways to show how beautifully and strongly the Lénaïc Fund for Quality Journalism impacts your life and to demonstrate my gratitude for this incredible opportunity, especially to Charles and Aulde.
I’ll be forever grateful.