Here I go! The train has just started leaving the central station in Naples and I’m heading for Rome: destination The Foreign Press in Via Umiltà 83/C, Rome for my first day as a Journalist intern. I’ll be working with 2 internationally acclaimed journalist located in Rome: Maarten van Aalderen – Dutch Correspondent for De Telegraaf and author of Il Bello dell’Italia and Christina Höfferer – Correspondent for ORF Radio/Television Broadcast Austria, author of A Literary Travel to Rome. From the Sweet Life to the Great Beauty and Inside the Vatican. On a Red Vespa in Piazza San Pietro.
Who am I kidding? I’m all nerves about this experience: I’ve got a lot on the line. Let’s face it, I’m not a spring chicken, I’ve got a good job and am full of responsibilities concerning my children and life in Naples. But I want more. Losing my job back in 2012 didn’t mean just losing a steady income and a job in the diplomatic field that I loved; it also meant losing my professional identity and so much of my self-confidence. Once I got over the shock of my unemployed predicament and re-establishing financial income potential, I realized the job market had little to offer someone like me with big dreams (especially here in the south of Italy where I have put down my roots as an adult). The only chance I had to learn something new and make it spendable professionally was to go back to school.
So, I began going Grad School hunting. The wonderful thing about modern technology is that you can do so right in the comfort of your own home. You just need a good computer. So that’s what I did. Following great consideration and time spent writing and calling Grad Schools, I decided the most compatible for my needs was Università Telematica Internazionale Uninettuno in Rome. Set up and organized online with versatile didactics that included virtual classrooms, chat and forum platforms, I was able to get the most out of the plethora of video lessons that accompanied me throughout my study period. Continuously monitored and followed by a tutor and expert in Journalism, I rounded out the Master’s workload with weekly “hands on” exercises and periodic exams I sustained at a local university. Week after week, the tasks I completed and the feedback I was given helped me fine-tune my communication skills.
Now, I’ve moved into the second-to-last phase of my Master’s: the internship. Of course, I’m full of hopes about it! I want to learn as much as I can out there in the real journalist world and use this experience as a trampoline that’ll hopefully launch me into an exciting new career.
Don’t get me wrong. I know the field is on its knees and journalists have been struggling over the last years due to new technology. Lightning –fast transition to cost-free journalism 2.0, accompanied by user generated content and “do-it-yourself” reporting has cost the field and its professionals enormously. While improvised journalism can be useful in certain situations, it should never be confused with the necessity of having ethical professionals do the job well. That’s where I’d like to come in. I’m hoping that with this degree under my belt, I’ll be able to find space for myself in a field that has always intrigued me.
I have to be honest: I don’t really know what I expect to get out of this experience and this graduate degree in general. I certainly don’t feel I could actually become a full-on Italian journalist; for that, you need a state exam and have to enroll into the Italian Ordine dei Giornalisti. Perhaps I could work for a company or brand here in Italy that’s projected onto the international market. Lots of companies and institutions need proper communication and press services. And why not, I could even become a correspondent for an English newspaper or magazine! Ok Florence, first things first….day one internship, here I come!