The code of ethics valued by journalists is only kept if a reporter keeps one’s honesty; however, being honest is never an easy task. As a reporter of SMT, one of the hardest things I have to do is question the honesty of an interviewee’s response. As a softy, I found asking the hard questions difficult. Another difficult aspect to being a reporter was the need to check and recheck facts repeatedly. Whenever I revised my articles, I found that I was unclear or used unclear terminology. At each mistake, I felt shameful for not having done enough investigative research. I also felt sorry to the interviewees for having to ask for follow-up interviews because I didn’t get the information precisely the first time. However, I knew if I didn’t confirm my facts and ask for follow-up interviews, I might have written a falsehood or delivered to my readers inadequate articles. No matter how shameful it is to face my mistakes, I must address them in order to avoid causing harm to the interviewee or source institution. As a reporter, I tried to never distort another’s words by writing incorrect details or adding my opinion to a SMT magazine article.
Becoming editor-in-chief, I had to ask even more of others. I was stressed often and thought about calling it quits at times. There were even times when I regretted my decision to join SMT. Especially, the responsibility of being the ‘leader’ pressed hard on me. I had always feared situations in which people discover my mistakes; it disappointed me. I reflected often on myself by seeing how colleagues and cooperating companies viewed me. I found that I was not honest with myself and others, for I hid my weaknesses and pretended to be a rock solid person. However, SMT has gone through a number of hardships in recent months, which has made me conscious of the fact that even though others were aware of my mistakes and weaknesses, they cared little. Therefore, I decided to speak frankly to reporters whenever I had to ask for their help. My colleagues listened to my words and encouraged and helped me enormously. I let down my defenses and trusted them more.
I still cannot say I am an honest person; one’s character cannot change in just six months. I am still fear showing my true self to others and worry about others’ opinions of me. Even though SMT has helped me change, the weight of my responsibility as an academic journalist is heavy. I can only confidently say that being honest requires great courage. Telling the truth is much harder than telling small white lies, but I am learning to accept the fact that everyone makes mistakes and has faults. If you are honest with others, your courage increases and the weight of your responsibility becomes lighter. Be honest with yourself and your friends. You will be free, and your friends will be there for you.
Chang Chun Heejin / Editor-in-Chief