Passion with a Purpose

Interviewee: Malick Mercier (Sophomore Journalism Major)

Journalism is a stressful, fast-paced field that is mentally, physically, and emotionally demanding. To some, these stressors pay off when the truth is revealed, culprits are caught, and the “greater good” prevails.

The “fears of the field,” if you will, can come from the public, an employer, or from an in-field situation. Whether the journalist is worried about the public’s perception, being physically harassed or attacked, specific assignments or threatening situations, they prevail because it is all part of the job.

Malick Mercier is a sophomore journalism major who explored the journalistic environment through an internship with ABC’s Localish. Mercier was the program's first media intern and was tasked with running the social media pages and finding new content to cover. He was also able to produce his own news package, which was published on ABC’s website. (A news package is a visual form of journalism using multimedia and broadcasting to present the news in a more interactive way.)

Being submerged in fieldwork and a newsroom environment is essential to Mercier's career, not to mention the challenges he did and continues to face.

Generational differences appeared periodically, and although that is not a negative thing, it can be worth thinking about. Journalism is constantly developing. Broadcast news, to some, is considered old fashioned and does not always appeal to younger audiences. Media packages, such as interactive articles online or social media postings, are more up to speed with what younger consumers want from their news outlets.

Mercier struggled at first to express this idea of generational differences as an intern at a large organization, but managed to find a more comfortable atmosphere with morning broadcaster Candace McCowan.

Covering the morning news in the middle of Times Square can be intimidating since New York City is usually a bustling place. At four in the morning, however, it looks a little different. There are a few stragglers roaming the streets and subways, plus an occasional construction crew. Mercier’s morning job shadow trip turned out to be a little more exciting than watching someone stumble by.

After McCowan did her initial morning broadcast, word of a dangerous pressure cooker reached the crew. Before he knew it, Mercier was rushing with the news to cover a bomb threat.

Running towards that kind of danger rather than running away from it was a different experience for Mercier; as anyone could imagine, it was frightening, too. It was a situational fear that was resolved, thankfully, without harm.

A bomb threat was not the only event Mercier feared during his time with Localish. The public assumptions that come with working at a large news outlet can be unnerving.

“If someone screws up, my fear was being associated with that...Knowing my audience saw me at a place facing accusations and I was saying nothing about it, I was afraid of what they thought,” said Mercier.

However, seeing everything that can happen on the job can be really helpful, and for Mercier, inspiring. He mentioned that the way people work and talk about their job can show that they are passionate about what they are doing.

“Seeing behind the scenes of my passion and seeing the spark in [people working in the field] lights me up.”

Mercier says that being part of the morning news was impactful for him. People wake up in the morning and go about their routine. For those that turn on the news, they are making you a part of their morning. They are inviting what you have to say into their lives. That, Mercier said, is what makes the fears of journalism worth the final results.

“I believe there’s power in showing up and telling people’s stories that can make [others] think; that can really make a difference. It’s so awesome to meet people, interview them, and share their lives with the world!”

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