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Day Five: Climbing the ladder

Updated: Jun 21, 2019

By Paulo Orozco, June 14, 2019


Yesterday, I was given four assignments: From the janitor protest downtown to a restaurant interview in Palo Alto. As you can imagine, I was exhausted. Today I held my breath and went on with reporting. I was assigned to reshoot past images on Bud Winter Field, clouds engulfing the San Jose State campus.


I found myself hoping for the right moment to appear. While I waited, the sun rays decided to say hi, pushing my comfort and patience to an unsteady level. The grass wavered in the heat waves. This was the long wait —  no one was there, but I lay waiting for the perfect shot.


The day continued into photo review, a picky process of choosing what images had the “X-factor.” With it was the agonizing feeling of not knowing if my work was good enough. I saw my photos as plain — not spicy. Realizing that my images were not up to standard, it shook me.


How do you get over feeling less than? My answer was: Moving forward and accepting the past. It’s a time of fear and not knowing if you will make it through the day, but when you do, you have a story to tell.


What opened my eyes was a discussion with Skylar, our student intern, on our drive back from a Palo Alto interview. We talked about imposter syndrome — how you can feel like a fraud when you’re in a sea of talent. It’s easy to forget your self-worth when you feel like other people are better. What I got from the conversation is that there’s always going to be someone higher on the ladder of success. All we can do is keep climbing.

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