We go blank

I’ll be honest: I don’t know what to write about. As a journalist, this seems as such a paradox – there’s so much to write about. I recall one of my lecturers in uni telling us that as a journalist you should be able to turn ANYTHING into a story.

And here comes the crunch, I think. Maybe I just have too many stories in my head, and writing a snapshot of my own in this column is the hard part.

Perhaps this is because it’s difficult to write about all the matters that fall in the ‘grey’ areas, where opinion leads the way and facts prevent you from looking on the bright side.

Perhaps I was put off by a recent encounter with a friend, who pinpointed her disbelief in the ‘system’ which diffuses that information (mass media outlets), how short-sighted it is and how it doesn’t look ahead.

And she has a point. It may be hard or perhaps impossible to envision the future factually, yet it may not be as difficult to project an outcome. Should we take the more than 800 migrants that died in the recent capsizing of a boat off the coast of Libya?

I haven’t come across any article that tackles the need of the survivors, for example – the logistics.
Where are they living? How much money do they need to restart their life? Which countries would be willing to take them in? What would it take to have them return home? What is the plan for them? Or rather, what plan could ‘we’ come up with for them? The news is over…

This may be a somewhat idealistic approach to the problem and, of course, some of these questions are not that easy to answer, but my point is that there’s a side to reporting which isn’t touched upon that often.

There’s a power there that we’re (including me) perhaps not using as much as we could.
This may be due to the tempo we’re working under… and then, all of a sudden, we go blank.
We have nothing to say because we hear too much, chew too much and don’t say enough.

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About Melissa Hekkers

I am freelance journalist and author, who has frequently been featured in mainstream news outlets and other publications in Cyprus. Recently, I've been focusing on developing my writing, promoting my own books and teaching creative writing to children and adults. My most recent publication (2020) - Amir's Blue Elephant- pushes the boundaries of creative non-fiction, and recreates the moments that marked me the most, whilst volunteering in refugee camps in Lesvos, Greece, and during her ongoing involvement with the refugee community in Cyprus. In 2018 I published My Capre Greco Mandala which is the third in a series, an interactive colouring book about the biodiversity of the Cape Greco peninsula in Cyprus. My Akamas Mandala, the second in the series, is a colouring book inspired by the variety of endemic plants found on the Akamas Peninsula. In 2016, I published My Nicosia Mandala, the first of the above series, an innovative, interactive colouring book about the historic fortifications of the old town of Nicosia. I also focuses on silenced communities in Cyprus: I writes about migrants and refugees, both as a reporter and a features writer; I profile them and teach them creative writing skills. In 2007, soon after graduating with a Communications degree, I published my first children’s book in both English and Greek entitled Crocodile, which won the Cyprus State Illustration Award. In 2012, I launched my second children’s book Flying across Red Skies (in English and Greek), using an experimental approach to literature, for which I was nominated for the Cyprus State Literary award. My third, similarly well-received children’s book was Pupa (Greek and English), published in 2014. In between the last two books, I published my first free-verse poetry book entitled Come-forth. In 2019 she was contributing author to the anthology Nicosia Beyond Barriers: Voices from a Divided City, published by Saqi Books, London