BY JUDY HAUGHTON-JAMES
|JAN ( LEFT) & JUD ( RIGHT)|
IN TRANS-WORLD TUTORIAL COLLEGE T-SHIRTS
OVER THE FIRST HURDLE
English scholar and author Robert Burton once said "Hope is a good word. Without hope we shall never reach the things that give life its true happiness above the changes of chance and time." These are wise words which every would-be writer should heed.
In 1980 when we left high school we envisioned a career in media but had no idea that we were destined to become jounalists. Our interest in this profession was aroused when we saw an ad in our daily newspaper, offering a writing course from Trans-World Tutorial College, a British Correspondence College. The minute we started the course our interest in journalism soared and we not only successfully completed it but went on to pursue an even more comprehensive course with the London School of Journalism.
Having attained the Honours Diploma from the London School of Journalism we had our first hurdle to get over, that of breaking into print. We live on the Caribbean island of Jamaica and at that time there were limited opportunities for print journalists, when one takes into consideration the fact that there was only one national newspaper, the Gleaner. Friends and relatives on hearing of our interest in Journalism kept saying "I hope to see your names in the Gleaner someday." We would just smile and say inwardly "We hope for that miracle too!"
It was our mother's wise advice that sparked us into quick action. She said, "Judy and Janine, shouldn't you be thinking up some articles to submit to the Gleaner? Remember that this is the time when other student journalists are graduating from institutions and there is only one national morning newspaper."
After a few hours of deliberations we came up with a column idea, one which stemmed from our favourite hobby of corresponding with pen-pals from many countries. Over the years, this hobby resulted in our developing an insatiable curiosity about people, places, customs, animals, buildings, monuments, etc. around the world. All printed matter, radio and television programmes on such subjects would cause us to have our eyes and ears glued attentively to screen or paper. We would take special note of anything unique and interesting. We finally decided that we would submit a column titled "Around the World."
Three days after the idea was conceived, we sent off our first submission giving information on Japan's unique wedding customs, Norways's midnight sun and the blind processionary caterpillars of Italy. We felt that this column would be accepted and continued to gather information. It was therefore a special thrill when we recieved a letter from the Gleaner's Managing Editor which stated, "We have decided to use your very informative article titled "Around the World" in our Sunday Youth Page and look forward to receiving other pieces from you for consideration." What a relief! We had cleared our first hurdle. The article was printed on August 12, 1984.