In a transforming World!
I am a journalist. That’s what I do for a living. It’s my purpose.
It started a year or so after I started working at a local radio station, which at that time, had a significant audience. That was when I started working for the television.
The radio was heard in Lisbon, at the village in Santarém, and almost reaching Porto. It started in Azambuja, Rádio Ribatejo, that was its name. About a year after this, I started – like almost everyone else – in the sports area, reporting stories of old derbies, in nostalgia covered fields. During that year I was transferred for the first time. As any dazzled football player, I dressed the part as a journalist for Rádio Lezíria, while also doing some work for the second oldest newspaper in Portugal – A Vida Ribatejana – which, as the other two radios I have worked for, does no longer exist.
Nostalgia covered fields. I ended up at TSF. I ended up in school. They taught me so much. I was happy there.
But I was fascinated by the TV. About a year later, having already my press card, I started my journey. As of today, I have been a journalist for 25 years.
I have two godfathers and a godmother – in those years, we needed godparents to sign the document that gave us access to the press card. They are still working today. So much time passed.
I am for choices. I could write in this text that everything is wrong, that in 25 years all has changed for the worse, that the evolution was backward and I could have a negative view about the changes in the world and journalism. I am sorry. The reality is enough negativity. I rather look forward to what is yet to come, perceive every day as a whole.
(I will curse) Damn, let’s use our memories. We lived in two centuries. I lived during the ’80s, known as the “Information Era”, please recall it, we have witnessed brutal and fabulous changes. We saw the first computers being built.
I even got to page journals that referred to the first Mac computers. We are pioneers! We existed before the Internet, we saw it come and transform life. The 20th century had so many massive events that our way of life has changed forever.
It keeps changing, every day, faster.
Some of those events, a tiny part of them, I had the privilege to witness. When I got to TVI, there was only one computer with internet access. Only one person – Manel – knew how to handle the computer. Mobile phones were starting to emerge. Bip’s were common. I can still hear the ringing bells of the telex machine at TSF. Yes, that pre-modern way of communication. I miss those bells.
I was born a few months after Man stopped the world by walking on the Moon. During the 20th century, I was a toddler, a boy, a teenager – everything happened in the 20th century.
It was amazing, magical, impacting. We have been so many things. I got so many Penicillin injections. The doctors insisted that I had rheumatic fever. Penicillin already existed when I was born. The birth control pill, both World Wars, the Berlin Wall, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Chernobyl. It was on a Christmas day, in 1990, that internet as we know it was born. It spread quickly and today we can’t live without it. It was the biggest change I witnessed because it changed everything – the way we talk, what we say, how we connect, the way we act, who we are. It changed governments, drove revolutions, divorces, marriages, it saved and destroyed lives. It changed.
We are lucky and we don’t realize it. The world changes this much and gladly journalism followed those changes. Journalism is alive, against all scourges that it goes through or the ones that are thrown to it, sometimes from its own audience.
This audience insists on not wanting to be sure that journalism is made for the public. Journalism’s fault. The public is always right, much like the client at a restaurant.
A lot changed in 25 years, it changed for the worse. A step back. So many other things changed for the better.
Digital platform’s fast response almost killed one of the major journalism’s advantages: to give real, correct news, approaching all points of view. That greed is dangerous but manageable. I lived through all these changes, the journey, and this brave new world. I keep ongoing. Being a journalist is to be a journalist. It’s great to have the digital world helping us. We are the ones who need to learn how to reconcile this endless tool with all the journalism’s suppositions. This is the challenge. Glad it is so, because we are alive and vital, each day more so, especially in democratic societies. Fortunately, having lived all that I did and having yet so much to live. To see. To write. After all these years, since the first moment. And I would do it all over again!