Enduring Hardship to Strive Forward and Fulfill My Vows
(Clearwisdom.net) I commenced part-time work at New Tang Dynasty TV (NTDTV) reporting the news in March 2008. Approximately one year later in May 2009, I resigned from my everyday job in society to become a full time NTDTV reporter at the Toronto News Station. I feel very honored to be able to validate Dafa by working with NTDTV in this great historical period. Below, I would like to report to Master and fellow practitioners my cultivation experience in the past two years.
The TV Media Industry Work Is Hard but Rewarding
I was interested in TV news work even before I started my cultivation practice, yet what I had learned and done before was completely irrelevant to the TV work I do now. Becoming an NTDTV reporter was full of hardship and joy for me.
It was in November 2007 that I thought of working for NTDTV, when I had the chance to listen to Master's teaching at the U.S. NTDTV Global Conference. By then, I had been going to the Station a couple of times a week, mainly writing news articles by translating CBC source materials or shooting a 1-2 minute North America News Summary as the anchor. It was the most difficult time for the NTDTV Toronto Station since some reporters went to the United States, some switched to other programs, and some went to do other projects. The news department was barely functioning. In early 2008, the coordinator of the Station asked me to work as a reporter and this happened just as I was thinking of changing to another job. So with this perfect timing I agreed to do news together with another new practitioner who had just begun to learn photography.
However, a TV station is not like other places --- for newcomers, even the machines do not cooperate with you. There were always some problems either here or there. I was wondering how come even the machine knew how to trick strangers; maybe it was a test for me to see whether I could be persistent. After a while when I became familiar with all the software and equipment that I needed in my work, they were not unfriendly any more. I passed this first test.
Then the test of writing came, which was not easy for me to pass. From childhood, I had a difficult time writing. At the beginning, even to finish the 200 or 300-word news report was like climbing Mt. Everest. I didn't even know where to start and usually I sat there for hours with my head aching almost every time and inspiration didn't come even after I felt really exhausted. At that time, it was quite usual for me to stay up the whole night in order to finish the news work. I did interviews during the daytime and worked hard on the keyboard at night. I wrote, revised and wrote again, then added the content of the interviews. When the article was finally finished and sound was added, I had to cut and edit. I often had to spend eight or nine hours to complete a piece of news that lasted a minute and a half. To complete a piece of news was like peeling a layer of skin off my body. As a result, I often went to do interviews with dread since I knew that another miserable experience was waiting for me during the production.
However, this was not only a test of tiring tendons and bones. The hardest was to be persistent during loneliness and hopelessness. By then, other programs in the Station had gradually attracted more people. But the news team consisted of my work partner and me, just two beginners without any TV experience. I started from scratch to become a reporter. My best teachers were the news from mainstream TV stations such as CBC and CTV. The process of learning was to study their wording, footage and editing. Bit by bit, I began to understand how to make news even though I had never had any professional training. Although I made some progress, there was still no direction for the news team as there was no one else to exchange ideas with as nobody else wanted to join the team. I made phone calls to other practitioners but nobody wanted to do news work. Many times, I asked myself, "Why do you persist while so many others left?" At that time, I would always think of the article by Master "For Whom do You Practice Cultivation?" "Do I cultivate for others? Shall I give up if nobody else does?" "Didn't I participate because the station is short of hands? Should I give up just because no one else wants to do it?" When I felt hopeless, I would say to myself, "Master gave you hints to work at the NTDTV station, that means you have promised, how can you give up so easily?" After these realizations my determination to work on NTDTV news became much stronger.
Learning and Improving in the Process of Making the News
In September 2008, NTDTV settled in Ontario, Canada, which became a transitional point for the Toronto News Station. In order to improve audience ratings, in April 2009, the Station decided to break through the blockage of TV stations status by forming a full time news team to make the ten-minute Canada News every day. As one of the four full time employees, I became the community news reporter and began to face new tests in my cultivation.
If I called making the news before self-entertainment and having minimum outside pressure, now I would say the ten-minute everyday news was really intense and serious. In the past, all the news I made was about Dafa activities or was related to truth clarification,. But now I had to report on everyday people's lives. I didn't realize that I knew so little about society and I realized I had so much to learn. I thought that I could write news that looked fine. Now compared with other Chinese TV stations, I found that my news writing was without focus and did not attract the audience. I thought that I knew what news was. But when I had to do news constantly every day, I realized that the angle and requirement for news is totally different from reporting individual events. I suddenly felt such a big gap from other professional news teams. I became very anxious in my heart. How can I improve more quickly? There is no other way but to learn and to practice diligently. I said to myself "We don't have professionals right now, but as long as we learn whole-heartedly, and practice hard, we will become real professionals."
Every time I went for an interview, I would watch what the other attending media did-- what people they look for to interview; what questions they ask; how their reporters cooperate with the photographer and which location they chose to do the narrator's statement for the photographed TV news. Especially when I do interviews together with mainstream media, I can always learn some professional solutions from their reporters and photographers. Later on, I would ponder my observations and find out why they dealt with the situation that way and whether I could apply it to some situations. Every time I finished a news report, I would compare it with what other Chinese media have done, especially the reports by two other Chinese TV stations. I wanted to see what sentence they quoted from the interviewee, what wording they used and from what perspective they made the news clear.
Thus, I made improvements by accumulating these experiences bit by bit. One day, I suddenly realized that I had done better than reporters from other media on the site, and I became the dominating one who asked questions when a group of reporters were interviewing the same person. The quality of news we made was quite different from what we had before. Not very long ago, a fellow practitioner said to me, "The quality of your news is quite good now. It covers what's happening with everyday people. My wife who does not cultivate watches your news reports frequently."
The TV station is the Fa Tool that Master has given to Dafa disciples. Only by making NTDTV a TV station that has popular appeal to everyday people, can the implement save more sentient beings. We are trying our best to make Canada News popular in order to save the predestined people in this area.
Preliminary Achievements in Local Communities
It's been several years since Toronto established the TV station. Yet, we are not fully integrated into the community. Before 2009 not many people knew us, and we were like a floating plant on the water. We had not firmly rooted ourselves into the larger Toronto area, which has about 500,000 Chinese people in the community. As the only full time community reporter, I had to open up the hearts and minds of the Chinese community. This is actually much harder to do than the news itself. The good thing is: there is a clear direction and a team in the Station, so without hesitation, I have integrated myself into the Chinese community.
Without being recognized as a good network, for a long time we did not receive any news releases. The only source we had is from The Epoch Times. Where should I start? There was no other shortcut but to dig into it. For the first few months, I had to work about fifteen hours a day. Besides finishing the news for the day, I spent lots of time on websites surfing, trying to dig out news leads from various Chinese media in Toronto. As things happened in the Chinese community, whether big or small, as long as we knew about it, we went for an interview. In the process, we got to know many people. Sometimes, it was as simple as making a phone call to be added to a media list. But sometimes, it took several tries to establish a relationship. For example, there were a few large events happening in the community but because NTDTV was not on their media list we did not receive their media releases. Every time this happened, I reminded them to add us to the list and at the same time, I sent them our news report. Even when the activities were held on the weekend, we went to do a report. After several times of reporting on their events, they finally remembered my name and added NTDTV to their media list. There is also interference sometimes. It happened once that I did not receive several media releases from an organization and it turned out that they had missed the spelling of a letter in my email address.
As long as we have righteous thoughts, and conform to the ordinary society to the utmost extent, things will change. Some individuals and organizations in the community are very closely related to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and they try hard to avoid NTDTV. A Chinese-Canadian immigrant lawyer who did not know NTDTV accepted an interview. After we finished the interview, his assistant told him that we were related to Falun Gong. The lawyer immediately asked us not to use the footage because he had many business contacts in Mainland China and did not want trouble. On another occasion, I met this lawyer again and he attempted to stop his partner, a federal government member of parliament, from accepting my interview. I stood to the side with politeness, waiting for the MP to make a decision. At the same time, I kept sending forth righteous thoughts and telling him in my mind that it was a blessing to be interviewed by NTDTV, that there was more hope for him to be saved once he was reported on in Dafa disciple's media, and that he should not make any decision that would lead to regret in his whole life time. In the end, the MP accepted my interview.
Another time I tried to get in touch with a young man to report an exciting event that he was involved in. He first asked me whether NTDTV was about Falun Gong. I did not answer him directly; instead, I showed him some of my community news reports, which helped him to let go of his worries. Then I heard that he liked hockey, so I intentionally went to report on the hockey tournament that he participated in. After he saw the news, he said it was really good. Now the young man has treated me as a friend. Although I have not had the chance to clarify the truth to him yet, a foundation has been established. Quite a few people opposed us in the beginning. With time, since we meet frequently in the community, they are changing their attitude.
NTDTV, as a media, concerns itself with what happens in the everyday Chinese Community, which brings us together in the Community. Once we show our professional spirit, the Community acknowledges us. When business owners in Chinatown discussed with the Police Chief about anti-theft measures, NTDTV was the only media that showed up. Other than the report, we even shared our ideas. The business owners were very appreciative and said that they would subscribe to the NTDTV channel. When a press conference ended, all the other media left while we were still asking the organizer about more details. We were praised for our diligence and were asked how to subscribe to our TV channel. A Chinese-Canadian lawyer said to me, "No matter what, Falun Gong should have its freedom of belief. It does not make sense for the Chinese government to suppress you."
During the few days that I prepared for my sharing paper, a new immigrant from Mainland China, who was reported by multiple Chinese media for his sufferings, notified me only of something that happened to him recently, and invited us to report on it. Now, the number of organizations that have set up relationships with us is increasing, and we have more friends in the Community. Although the portion of the Community that we are able to contact is very limited, and there are huge groups of people waiting to be contacted, we can tell that with the joint efforts of other teams in the station, the hard ice of the Chinese Community is being melted.
Since we appear more and more frequently in the Community, the influence of NTDTV is manifesting itself gradually. Because we have kept up with some big news reports in society, the NTDTV microphone inevitably appeared again and again on the footage of other media. A couple of times, CTV reporters saw the NTDTV microphone from another media's report and contacted us for some footage that they needed for their news covering the Chinese Community. In a sensational news report that happened in the Toronto Chinese Community, CTV even invited NTDTV reporters as experts in the field during a live interview in its broadcasting room. During a popular viewing time, an NTDTV reporter appeared in the 2nd biggest TV station in Canada and was introduced to audiences nationwide. The influence was unimaginable. This is what we have achieved by working in the Community, and it is indeed inspiring.
Exposing the Evil and Clarifying the Truth
On the surface, we report news in the Community; in other dimensions, it is a big war between the good and the evil. We use NTDTV as our powerful Fa Tool, and expose the evil without even saying anything sometimes. Once I received a press release from a Commerce Association for a local organization. The press conference was held at a meeting room in the Toronto City Hall. After our arrival, the host rudely asked us to leave. The assistant from the Commerce Association who sent us the notice didn't expect anything like this to happen. She was very embarrassed and explained that funding from the Chinese Consulate supported the activities, and people from Mainland China were expected to come. After realizing the situation, I told the organizer that I was invited to come and had no reason to leave. In addition, the meeting place belongs to the City Hall and is a public place. Nobody has the right to tell media to leave a public place. I asked the organizer to explain why NTDTV was not welcome and he had nothing to say, and instead decided to cancel the press conference. All media at the scene were shocked. A western photographer told me that it was unbelievable, and that he knew the reason why. The assistant who sent me the notice apologized to me again and again, and the organizer was also very embarrassed. In the whole process, we didn't mention anything about Falun Gong. However, the fact that we were there exposed the evil to many officials and other media
Similar things happened, especially around those events with direct involvement of the Chinese Consulate. Once they found out that NTDTV was present, the CCP officers would be so frightened, and they either stopped us from videotaping, or interfered in our work with any means. This reoccurring situation always made other media very confused, which naturally exposed the evil CCP. It is just like what Master said,
"... if the wicked CCP simply refrained from doing anything it would probably be better off, for as soon as it does something it turns into a scandal and botches things up" (Fa Teaching Given at the Fa Conference Marking the Tenth Anniversary of the Minghui Website's Founding).
All people that we met in the Chinese and English community have a predestined relationship with us. Once the opportunities are right, Master will arrange for them to listen to the truth; among them are also colleagues from other media.
When I first appeared in the Community, I didn't know any of the Chinese reporters from other media. Nobody talked with me but it didn't matter. Since they wouldn't talk to me I engaged with them by actively greeting them and introducing myself. None of them said anything, but I could sense that many eyes were on me, trying to figure out what I was there for. I said to myself, "I was sent here to save you by Master." On the surface, I did what I should do, taking notes and doing interviews. If there was anything I didn't know, I would turn to them and ask modestly. After a few times, I got to know some of them. They noticed that this NTDTV reporter knew quite a bit about certain things, even more than what they knew sometimes. They started to view me as a fellow in the profession instead of a Falun Gong practitioner. And I never mentioned Falun Gong in front of them until one day when I went to interview someone in a court case and had to wait for about an hour. A Chinese TV reporter chatted with me and the first question he asked is the one favored by most Chinese people, "What is the relationship between NTDTV and Falun Gong?" I thanked Master in my heart for arranging such a chance for him to listen to the truth. Then I talked about Falun Gong and my cultivation practice openly. Later, a similar chance was arranged for another Chinese TV reporter to listen to the truth. Now, I am very familiar with all of these Chinese media reporters; and the two who listened to the truth exchanged information with me frequently. One of them said to me, "The CCP has no hope. Work hard and do more for us [the Chinese people]."
This year I understood deeply that media reporters in ordinary society work out of their interest in order to make a living. No matter how hard they work, they work for themselves. But we are different as Dafa disciples. We do not work for ourselves and we do not calculate gain or loss. So we can easily catch up with them and even do better than them, since the stage in the human world is being set for Dafa disciples. In the process of following Master in Fa-rectification, we can and must succeed on this path
Improving Xinxing When Attachments Are Revealed
In this process of mixed hardship and joy, Master exposed my attachments again and again, giving me opportunities to improve myself in this new environment.
When I was a part time reporter, I basically worked together with the photographer only. So the environment was much simpler. It seemed that as long as I could endure hardship, I could walk through the tribulations. But since I became a full time reporter in the news team, I work along with fellow practitioners every day and more tests occur to challenge my human notions. Under this pressure, the xinxing problems I had before I began this work would manifest in my work.
The development of the NTDTV station sets up high standard for the professionalism of the news team since it settled locally. Not only does the news have to be professional, the workflow and management also have to be professional. Everyone in the team works very hard. However, due to different understandings and expectations of professionalism, the devotion and commitment are also different. Moreover, different people have different personalities, and therefore, conflicts grow.
I am a single-minded person, lack flexibility, and tend to focus on one point and ignore others. Since Canada News started, I fully devoted myself to it, by thinking about how to improve the quality of news when I walked, ate and even when I slept. I have a very high standard for the quality of news, and have high expectations of others as well. I could not endure fellow practitioners' errors and insisted that others accept all my ideas when I felt that I was right; I felt unhappy and I complained when things were done not according to my ideas. Sometimes, I had a very bad tone and attitude towards fellow practitioners. At the beginning, I did not realize it completely, thinking that I was simply being responsible for my work. But soon, some practitioners came to me, telling me that if I kept behaving like this, nobody in the news team might stay. When I realized that it was quite serious, I had to look within. It was not easy to change a long-term habit. We face new things every day when making the news, new challenges and pressure arise every day. I often felt that I could not study the Fa, do exercises, and send forth-righteous thoughts with a calm mind. I would loosen the requirements for myself if I could not keep up the status of a practitioner. For a while, my relationship with fellow practitioners was quite intense.
The biggest trial I had was during the Shen Yun report in January. It was my first time being the editor-in-chief for the Shen Yun report. I did not do well in organizing reporters, reviewing editorials and being efficient in timely reporting. I realized that I had some problems and exchanged ideas with fellow practitioners. In the end, with the joint efforts of us all, we finished the reporting task with good quality and quantity. Whenever I sent forth-righteous thoughts at the media center, tears streamed down my face. I appreciated that Master had given me a chance to reflect on myself and to make amends. When I was confidently ready to do better as the editor-in-chief for the Shen Yun report in another city, the coordinator told me that my position was replaced, without giving me a reason. All of a sudden, I felt that all my efforts for the past few years were not acknowledged and that I was about to collapse by this blow to my ego. For a long time, I could not calm down because of this. Then I forced myself to let go of the resentment. No matter what, the Shen Yun report itself was successful. This was the most important. It doesn't matter who did the report. I should not linger on the right or the wrong on the surface of it. Even if I was right and others were wrong, the principle in human society happens to be the opposite. Am I still a practitioner if I keep this strong attachment and not let it go? In addition, isn't it a fact that a practitioner should have a great spiritual inclination? Even if I was wronged greatly or everyone misunderstood me, shouldn't I endure? Why should I be attached to my job?
I barely passed that test. Now when I look back, aren't my feelings due to the fact that I thought too highly of myself? If I reached the status of selflessness, I would have laughed at it and would have passed it easily. Maybe I would not even encounter something like that if I didn't have this attachment to self .
Maybe Master saw my heart to do NTDTV news well, so he has been giving me chances to upgrade myself. For the past two years, I felt that Master pushed me forward in the Fa rectification.
I am a fortunate Dafa disciple who can fulfill my pledge and play a part for the new history to be passed on to future mankind, I am grateful to keep Master's teachings in mind, together with all fellow practitioners, that
"So from this perspective, the station doesn't just need to be run well, but also be run in a more regular, standard manner. When you as Dafa disciples achieve Consummation, you will hand the station over to people from the period of Fa's rectification of the human world, and it will become a part of the culture of the future mankind. So you need to do a good job with it." (Fa Teaching Given at the NTDTV Meeting)