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Citizen Reporters in Their Own Words-2
Maria Pastora Sandoval Campos from Chile
Maria Pastora Sandoval Campos (jean)     Print Article 
Published 2005-06-28 11:23 (KST)   
Dear friends:

I feel you are like friends, a group of people who share the same passion about journalism. I always say the word that describes me most is "passionate," and that is why I say "share the passion." I think I could never be in a profession other than journalism.

When I was 10, I decided to be a journalist. Before that, I wanted to be an airplane pilot and an astronomer, but I thought that I couldn't be a good mother with these jobs, and being a good mother was something very important to me.

I then wanted to be a scientist, because I watched a scientific journalism program on TV that made a mark on a lot of people in Chile. The journalist who was the host of the program died and all the Chilean people remember him [not sure if the host was a he or she].

But I soon discovered that scientists are very quiet; they spend years looking for something "between four walls" in their laboratories and they don't speak a lot. I like to speak a lot and to be with people. I discovered that I like science, but what I really like is to speak about science and make it more familiar to people who are removed from it. So, I decided to make scientific and technological journalism the passion of my life.

When I was in grammar school and high school I was always organizing magazines, TV and radio programs (with a home radio and camera), taking photographs and doing projects related to journalism. At 16, I went to live in Argentina to do a youth radio program. It was my first professional experience in journalism. When I went to study journalism at a university in another city, I had to leave the station, but I took a radio-speaking course. And when I returned to Chile I returned to radio, too. It was almost like playing, because I liked it so much.

In Chile I study journalism as well. I started to work as a journalist in different places. I then started to learn about the Internet. I liked it very much, and I've found a place in journalism where I feel very comfortable.

Last year, on May 19th, Professor Arturo Catalan visited my university to speak about digital journalism, blogs, computer-assisted reporting and participatory journalism. He told us about OhmyNews and its goals. But when I went to the page I found it was in Korean! But I thought the newspaper was a very good idea and I thought, "Someday, we will have something like that."

I met Professor Catalan in October during a seminar of information and communication technologies. I was very interested in his work, because he is the president of the association of digital journalists in Latin America.

This year, in January, I was looking for a job. I contacted Professor Catalan and now I'm his assistant professor and my subject is "Digital Journalism."

In March, I had to teach a class and Professor Catalan asked me to teach about participatory journalism, and most of all, OhmyNews. When I prepared the class, I knew about Mr. Oh and a lot of things about OhmyNews, and then I discovered OhmyNews was in English! I thought about joining, but English is not my native language and I had never written as a journalist in English. So I decided to join and in my register I explained my imperfect English in journalism.

Professor Catalan gave me some links to prepare for my class. When I visited one of them, I read "50 Citizen Reporters will be invited to go Korea," and I thought, How lucky these people are to go there! Before the class I gave on participatory journalism, I received an e-mail from Todd Cameron Thacker explaining that I didn't have to write in perfect English and that I would improve in my work at OhmyNews.

So, I took the challenge and Todd asked me to write an article about the fallen Ecuadorian president. In a couple of hours, I was on the cover of the newspaper -- what I had once seen as unreachable. A little while later I was one of the lucky people I saw in the link. Incredible, most of the people around me said, asking how I could be going to Korea!

My OhmyNews experience has been the best. Todd is always glad to help me. My professional development is experiencing a very big jump. I had never imagined myself writing in English as a reporter. Maybe in the future, if I were working in a foreign country or for a foreign news agency, but it seemed almost impossible. I had never imagined being read by Asian people and people from all around the world. I always carry my camera and I like to take a lot of pictures, but I never imagined I could see something interesting in the street that could become interesting to the world.

OhmyNews is an opportunity to give something you can't give anywhere else. It is a door to a world that is unreachable to many people. It is a place where you can say the things you want to say, but with responsibility. It is a place for people who are interested in journalism but who may not necessarily want to live their lives as journalists.

OhmyNews, to me, is something that I carry in my heart and that I'm proud to be a part of. A lot of people don't know about the newspaper in my country, and when I tell them it is in Korea they become surprised. I feel like a pioneer and I thank OhmyNews for the opportunity to practice the passion of my life. I was the first Chilean on Ohmynews and others who followed are friends whom I invited and who wanted to take the challenge.

My dream? For OhmyNews to become Oh mis Noticias, meaning OhmyNews in Spanish.

Thank you very much.
©2005 OhmyNews

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