Being a journalist isn't always what it's cracked up to be. As Headliners Lyra McKee discovered at the International AIDS Conference in Toronto, Canada.

Wednesday saw me physically exhausted and almost too tired to work. The strain of the past 11 days plunged me into a zombie-like stupor, only speaking when spoken to and too tired to even pose for photographs. And I still believe that being a journalist is the best job in the world! My own youthful enthusiasm is starting to nauseate me.

I tried to get a few words out of Dr. Peter Piot, a pioneer in the field of AIDS, but he could not stop to chat with me, he was late for a session or something. If he thinks his job is hard, he should try doing mine!

Going Wrong

Everything that could go wrong yesterday did. I went to cover a story at a booth in the Global Village, a collection of organisations mainly advocating for groups vulnerable to HIV such as orphans and vulnerable children, when I got lost, and upon asking directions, was persuaded to sign up for a weekly newsletter. I’m expecting another seven of them to be waiting on the doormat when I arrive home this week.

Even with all this, I can still honestly say, wait till I cross my fingers, that I love being a journalist. Turning out a great piece of work even when time is running against you is like sticking your tongue out and saying, "Ha ha, look what I can do!" Now I know for certain that anything is possible, even typing up a diary for BBC Blast with your eyes closed and your head nodding forward.


This will be my last full day here, we are only working tomorrow morning, before we jet back to the land of saints and scholars, and I intend to make the most of it. Stress and pressure are all part of the job, I’ve been told and the most important thing is that you get it done regardless. In fact a guy sitting opposite me just said to his mate, "I'm meant to be flying to New York next week and I can't even remember if I've booked the flight!" Talk about being stressed!

About this article

This article was written by Headliners reporter Lyra McKee, 16 and first published on BBC Blast in 2006. Lyra attended the International AIDS Conference as an "embedded" journalist with Save The Children. Her diary was published on BBC Blast.

Lyra McKee was recently killed in Derry/Londonderry on the 18th April 2019. She was a previous participant of Headliners in Belfast and more recently a trustee of Headliners (UK). You can read the statement from Headliners (UK) here.

Photo Credit: Ailbhe Flynn