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By CARLOS RUBEN DOURADO and CHOO XIN ER
brats@thestar.com.my

WHEN Clarissa Say joined BRATs at 16, she had no idea that it would change her life.

The young journalist camp ignited a passion for journalism, which then led her to an internship, and later, a full-time position at R.AGE.

Today, Say is living the BRATs dream: from participant to BRATs senior, she’s now part of the award-winning R.AGE team, working on impactful projects like Predator In My Phone and The Last Survivors.

Here, she tells the BRATs how it all began (hint: BRATs Camp).

Say is thankful that BRATs sparked her passion for journalism and enabled her to do what she loves. — SHANJEEV REDDY/ R.AGE

Say is thankful that BRATs sparked her passion for journalism and enabled her to do what she loves. — SHANJEEV REDDY/ R.AGE

What sparked your interest in journalism?

Since I was little, I’ve always loved telling stories and the written word. The idea of being able to combine those two aspects to tell the truth in an interesting and engaging way made journalism seem like the most natural progression for me.

Why did you join BRATs?

It started as a family affair – my mother always encouraged me to join the programme, and I was inspired by my brother who was also a BRAT. Their support pushed me to take the plunge, and it was one of the best decisions of my life.

How did BRATs help you on your path to journalism?

BRATs took this spark I had and fleshed it out into what’s hopefully a lifelong career in journalism.

I developed a better understanding of what was considered newsworthy, and I learnt to critically evaluate stories produced by others and myself.

What else did you do to hone your journalistic skills?

The next thing I did was apply for an internship at R.AGE.

As an intern, I gained a bigger picture as to what I could really do.

For example, once I had an idea for a story but I realised that it lacked depth. But with the help of the amazing team at R.AGE, I learnt how to ask the right questions. But I did make a lot of mistakes at first! It’s all part of the learning process.

And with that knowledge and help, I was able to produce my first cover story.

What do you like about working at R.AGE?

At R.AGE, I have the opportunity to tell stories that I want to tell, as well as the trust [of the team] and the necessary facilities to do so. That’s rare in a first job.

Most importantly, I enjoy working with the team, where everyone is so like-minded. The culture in the office is really helpful and encouraging; it’s like being with grown-up BRATs.

What’s the best part about being a journalist?

The best part of this job is the unique experiences. I’ve spoken to people I normally wouldn’t approach, and been to awesome places I’ve never imagined I’d be able to.

For example, I got into gaming after covering a League of Legends Championship.

More recently, I went under-cover as a 15-year-old meeting online sexual predators for Predator In My Phone.

Journalism allows you to experience these remarkable moments which are totally incomparable to what you feel as a reader, and that’s why I love it.

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