A FILIPINO JOURNALIST’S TALE: INTERCULTURAL EXPERIENCE
The family business could have offered him an instant position with a modest salary and even attempted to discourage him from journalism practice but his passion for news came first. He was born, raised, and educated in the Philippines and even worked earning a minimum wage as a start of a budding career. He became a personal assistant, preparing a Jurassic teleprompter and even getting scolded for not putting it the right way rendering the paper crumpled and giving the newscaster a hard time reading the news.
He worked his way as a struggling newbie but Ricky Hizon was able to get to one of the generic dream of every journalist, to get to an international news organization. Now we can see Ricky Hizon doing the Asian business and finance news for BBC World News. Seeing Ricky Hizon every time on television makes me proud too perhaps like every Filipino.
Ricky said “I learn to learn the business from the bottom up. When I started I did news editing, was a camera man, driver, nag PA (personal assistant) pa ako, and news anchor. I was earning P5, 000 at that time. I was even asked to prepare cups of coffee. I started way down. I learned from the bottom.” A graduate of Mass Communication from one of the finest universities in the country, he found it difficult looking for job. For five years, he reached the newscaster status in one of the networks in the Philippines.
One day a colleague gave him the information he needed which eventually gave him a position in BBC.
The job made him stay in Singapore. He is doing business and finance news as he also has that taken in college.
It is his exposure to different culture all the more made him appreciate the Philippines. Being away from his home country makes him miss the Philippines but that has added to his sensitivity being a Filipino. He learned to be very adroitly and diplomatically respond in cynical and condescending comment of co-workers hiring a Filipino domestic helper. His very smart responses are “Aren’t they the best cook?” of “Aren’t they the most industrious, hospitable?” It made him even more patriotic.
He even sports a shirt with the Philippine map embroidered on his left chest during conventions and other important gathering and people get to notice and when asked he says “This is the map of my country the Philippines, it has the best beaches in the whole world.” “We have the most delicious dried mango in the world.” He brings his co-worker food “pasalubong” or gifts to his co-workers to have the taste of it.
He even enticed businessmen to go invest in the Philippines. It was such a very admirable deed Ricky and I want you to know I am very proud to have you as a fellow Filipino. Working in one of the very well known networks in the world might be challenging but you handle it pretty well by giving your best. Ricky does his own research and news. He even exceeds working over his time in which he is, according to him “being criticized by showing bad example.” He was perplexed and asked them why and they responded “it might also be asked from us, so please don’t do that.”
He learned later that the working culture and environment in the place was work 8-5 and very specific, if you are a news reporter, just do the reporting, news writing just do news writing and nothing else.” But having his training in the Philippines has taught him difficult to undo and that is giving the best multitasking that he could.
Hard work bears fruit. A blessing for years of service and doing something extra for it, he was noticed as the only Filipino anchor from the British Broadcasting Corporation BBC World news and was awarded the 2009 People of the Year — Mass Media by People Asia Magazine whose website “GoodNewsPilipinas.Com” informs the global community everything good about the Philippines. He explained every day we see news on the front-page that make us feeling depressed and skip the news and browse to the entertainment page instead. He believes that we have a lot of “deeper” things to write about the country. He says the website let the world see our rich culture and everything good about the Philippines.
On retirement, he said he wants to be back and retire in the Philippines but at the same he still wants to be a spokesman of the country.
Mr. Ricky Hizon, I wish you all the best. God bless you.