By Mindanao Times
Campus journalists and communication students from fourteen schools in Davao City geared up for the real media world as the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) through its members – Mindanao Times as lead convenor, Edge Davao, The Mindanao Daily Mirror, and Sun.Star Davao — gathered over 80 students in a seminar-workshop on journalism excellence and ethics on September 1 at Royal Mandaya Hotel for the Scholastic Press Alliance (SPA), a venue for journalism and communication students and teachers to acquire more knowledge and expertise on the trends and challenges in the industry.
According to PPI executive director Ariel Sebellino: “This is the first activity this year outside Manila that was done under the institute’s outreach program for the academe.” Sebellino said that Davao City holds the distinction for being the first to initiate the scholastic activity with the most number of schools in attendance.
The PPI is currently strengthening its engagement with schools offering communication and journalism courses and programs in the hope of molding aspiring journalists and providing them appropriate skills to reinforce what they are learning in their classes.
TIMES editor-in-chief Amalia Bandiola, who served as the coordinator of the same seminar, said the activity aims to bridge the gap between the journalism lessons learned by the students in school and the journalists in the real world media. “We also want to be able to equip them with the skills to take on media challenges and media law.”
Bandiola also said that SPA’s goal is to engage campus journalists to a high level of achievement that would enrich their skills as young writers. “By having this community of student journalists, SPA will be able to open doors for widening media knowledge, improving campus paper quality, and engaging in current media discussions.”
The participating school publications were from the Philippine College of Technology, Holy Cross of Davao College, Intercity College of Science and Technology, Assumption College of Davao, University of Southeastern Philippines, Davao Doctors College, University of the Philippines Mindanao, Jose Maria College, University of Immaculate Conception, San Pedro College, University of Mindanao, Philippine Women’s College, Ateneo de Davao University, and Mindanao Medical Foundation College.
The seminar kicked off with an inspiring message by TIMES publisher and PPI trustee for Mindanao Atty. Jess Dureza who talked about the importance of practicing excellent journalism even in the campus level. He acknowledged the potential and the talents of student journalists who, in the future, will be the ones to lead the press across across all media.
PPI executive director Ariel Sebellino then gave light on why the student journalists gathered for that day: to know why there is a need to stress on professional and ethical practice of journalism. “Ethics and excellence are the two most important weapons or tools for us to be able to perform our duty as torchbearers,” he said.
Ed Lingao, multimedia director of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism then talked about his twenty years experience as a journalist and gave light on what excellent journalism really is. He asked the students: “Why do you want to be a journalist?” Having worked as a journalist in various media outlets across platforms, Lingao also shared his views on how journalism has changed now “but the values and integrity it holds still remain”.
In the afternoon, students were given a crash course on the basics of libel and media laws by Atty. Danilo Balucos, chief executive officer of Mindanews, who carefully guided the students in defining what libel is and how to defend one’s self from it.
Sun.Star editor-in-chief Stella Estremera then closed the series of lectures with a talk about the Freedom of Information Bill.
Finally, the students were divided into five groups for a workshop cum planning session where they brainstormed about how they can become better campus journalists through training programs and how they can come together again in the future for strategic collaborations and engagement via the Scholastic Press Outreach Program.
Betsy Tulio, editor-in-chief of the student publication in UP Mindanao finds SPA to be a great opportunity for student journalists like her to access the basic skills to become a better journalist. “It’s very different from the current guild of publications we, aspiring journalists are in, because we are in the shoulders of the experts of media practitioners in Davao City,” she said.
“I’m very excited because we’re now more empowered as student journalists, being given training and being given a voice to make a difference together in our community,” said Koji Shibazaki, managing editor of Clarion, the student publication of Davao Doctor’s College.
The Davao City leg of the Scholastic Press Outreach Program of the PPI was partly supported by the Embassy of Canada along with local partners such as SMI, Smart, DLPC and San Miguel which the local organizers tapped.
The Canadian Embassy promised to support future scholastic programs of the PPI that will be conducted in Bulacan, Cagayan de Oro and Bacolod. PPI members in the respective areas will also be the ones at the helm of one-day activity. (with reports from Jesse Pizarro Boga)
IN PHOTO: Amy Cabusao of Mindanao Times (fore) and Mindanao trustee Atty. Jess Dureza interact with student-participants.